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Cornell University Library 

Poems, by William Sharp; selected and arra 

3 1924 013 546 613 

Cornell University 

The original of tliis bool< is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

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The writings of William Sharp divide 
themselves in the midway ol his literary 
life into two distinct phases. The more 
racially imaginative phase, put forward 
under shelter of a pseudonym, has been 
gathered together in the .' Fiona Macleod " 
Series published by Mr. Heinemann ; and 
it seems fitting that a companion Series of 
writings of William Sharp, signed with his 
own name, should follow, and be as repre- 
sentative as possible, so that the two 
phases of his work can be compared con- 

As the " W. S." writings extend over a 
period of thirty years (the " F. M." period 
coincided with the last twelve years of the 
author's life), and comprise a wide range 
of subjects — poems, fiction, biographies, 
essays critical and reminiscent, and a mass 
of ephemeral work urged by the necessities 
of daily life — it has been somewhat difficult 
to determine on what basis to make a 
selection for the present Series. Finally, I 
decided to make choice from among the 



shorter poems, from essays and tales, to 
the exclusion of the longer novel and 
biography, and thus, moreover, to fulfil 
certain of his expressed wishes. 

In the arrangement of these volumes I have 
not preserved a definite chronological order, 
except in that of songs and poems. I have 
preferred to group the contents according 
to their subjects : Vol. I. Poems : Vol. II. 
Critical Essays : Vols. III. and IV. Papers, 
Biographic and Reminiscent : Vol. V. Short 
Stories. With the exception of a few of 
the poems, early experimental work is 
unrepresented ; the earliest prose work in- 
cluded is the essay on the sonnet written 
in the author's thirty-first year. In accord- 
ance with his own wishes his Life of Rossetii 
— considered by him as youthful and un- 
balanced — also his romance. The Children 
of To-morrow, are not reissued. Of his later 
novels. Wives in Exile and Silence Farm 
(both out of print) were written during the 
" Fiona Macleod " period out of a desire 
to strengthen the reputation of " W. S." 
and thus help to shield the identity of 
" F. M." My husband considered that 
Silence Farm contained his most successful 
effort in characterisation. Nevertheless, in 
it, he deliberately suppressed certain qualities 


natural to hinj, and emphasised others in 
order to make the style of writing as unlike 
that of " Fiona Macleod " as possible. Of 
other excluded mature work; the mono- 
graphs on Shelley, Browning, and Heine 
are available among the publications of 
Messrs. Walter Scott, to whom I am indebted 
for permission to include in this volume the 
ballads of "The Weird of Michael Scott," 
"The Death-Child," and "The Isle of Lost 
Dreams." The Life and Letters of Joseph 
Severn is out of print ; and the Progress of 
Art in the XIX Century is published by 
Messrs W. and R. Chambers. 

The poems in the present volume (1879- 
1905) are selected from five volumes 
and a number of miscellaneous poems 
published in his own name, and not 
from those written over the pseudonym 
of "Fiona Macleod" (1893-1905). The 
earliest volume, The Human Inheritance 
(Elliot Stock, 1882) opened with a 
long poem in four cycles descriptive of 
Childhood, Youth, Manhood, and Old 
Age ; and from it are taken " Childhood's 
Inheritance," "Motherhood," &c. The 
sonnets "Spring Wind" and "A Mid- 
summer Hour " were included in The 
Sonnets of this Century (Walter Scott), 


as were also those " To D. G. Rossetti," 
to whose memory the anthology was dedi- 
cated. Earth's Voices (Elliot Stock, 1884), 
dedicated to Walter Pater, contained a 
series of lyrics — ^voices of the forests, rivers, 
winds, flowers, mountains, oceans — two 
long poems, " Sospitra " and " Gaspara 
Stampa," from which " To suffer grief is 
to be strong " and " Sleep " aire taken. 
" The Record " is autobiographic, inasmuch 
as it was the beginning of an endeavour 
to relate memories of past lives that haunted 
the author. 

Romantic Ballads (Walter Scott, 1888) 
was written under " the earnest conviction 
that a Romantic Revival is imminent in our 
poetic literature " ; that, as he stated in the 
Preface, " the third great epoch of English 
poetic literature will be an essentially 
dramatic one : and its fruitage will neces- 
sarily be preceded by a blossoming of the 
genuinely romantic sentiment ... of the 
Romantic spirit — not the formal letter of 
Romanticism — a renascence which will be 
as manifest in realistic as well as in more 
directly imaginative prose and poetry. . . . 
In ' The Weird of Michael Scott ' [of which 
two sections are herein included] I have 
attempted a ballad in enlarged form — that 


is, it is meant as a lyrical tragedy of a soul 
that finds the face of disastrous fate against 
it whithersoever it turns in the closing 
moment of mortal life." And he adds, " The 
thriU of the supernatural is so keen because 
it touches the most natural part of us." 

The poet spent the winter and spring 
of 1890-91 in Rome and its environ- 
ments ; the immediate literary outcome 
thereof was a volume of unrhymed, irregu- 
lar metres, printed at Tivoh, published 
privately that spring under the title of 
Sosfiri di Roma and prefaced by [an 
etched portrait of him by Sir Charles 
Holroyd. Concerning his use of unrhymed 
metre he wrote to a friend : " What can be 
done in Greek and German can be done in 
English. This has been proved, for some 
of Matthew Arnold's finest work is in 
unrhymed verse. ... I felt that there is 
in verse, as in painting, a borderland^ for 
impressionism pure and simple, for the 
suggestion of a certain colour and emotion, 
a vivid actuality, which are apt to be 
dissipated by the effort and restrictions of 
rhyme. ... In this verse you willjj find 
something of my passion for the Campagna, 
and of that still deeper passion and longing 
for the Beautiful. All that I attempt to 


do is to fashion anew something of the lovely 
vision I have seen." 

"The Coming of Love," "The Untold 
Story," and " Dionysos in India " appeared 
originally in The Pagan Review (1892), the 
first and only number of a projected monthly 
review edited by " W. H. Brooks "—of 
which WiUiam Sharp wrote every word 
from cover to cover, under the pseudonyms 
of the Editor and the seven contributors. 

Of the section of poems 1893-1905, " Hill 
Water " was written for the Evergreen, 1895, 
a quarterly issued by Patrick Geddes and 
Colleagues, and " Spanish Roses " is taken 
from A Fellow and His Wife, a novel 
written in collaboration with Blanche WiUis 
Howard ; the remaining poems in the last 
section were contributed variously to 
Harper's Magazine, the Century, New York 
Independent, Literature, Country Lije, and 
the Pall Mall Magazine. 

The Fragment entitled " Persephoneia " 
is the Prologue to a five-act play, begun in 
1903 at II CasteUo di Maniace, on Etna ; 
and of it the complete draft, the Prologue, 
and half the first act only were written. 
Elizabeth A. Sharp 




First Words 3 

Childhood's Inheritance 4 

Young Love 14 

Motherhood 16 

The Redeemer 31 

Lines to E. A. S. 33 

SONNETS (1882-1886) 

Spring Wind 37 

A Midsummer Hour 38 

Pain 39 

Possibilities 40 

To D. G. Rossetti. I. 41 

To D. G. Rossetti. II. 42 


Madonna Natura 45 

During Music 48 

Shadowed Souls 50 

Song S3 

Sleep 54 

Mater Dolorosa 55 

The Song of the Thrush 57 

The Song of Flowers 59 


Song of the Cornfields 


The Field Mouse 


The West Wind 


Hymn of the Forests 


Song of the Deserts 


A Record 


Moonrise from lona 


Moonrise on the Venetian Lagoons 


Moonrise on the Antarctic 




Wild Roses 


The Ebbing Tide 


Dawn amid Scotch Firs 


A Dead Calm and Mist 


Tangled Sunrays 


Loch Coruisk (Skye) 


Sunrise above broad Wheatfields 


Phosphorescent Sea 


A Green Wave 


A Crystal Forest 


The Wasp 


An Autumnal Evening 


A Winter Hedgerow 


The Rookery at Sunrise 






The Crescent Moon 


The Eagle 


A Venetian Sunset 





The Last Aboriginal 


The Corobboree 





Justice 104 

Noon-Silence 104 


An Orange Grove 107 

Black Swaxis on the Murray Lagoons 107 

Breaking Billows at Sorrento 108 

Shea-Oak Trees on a Stormy Day 108 

Mid-Noon in January 109 

In the Fern 109 

Sunset amid the Buffalo Mountains 1 10 

The Flying Mouse 1 10 

The Bell-Bird 1 1 1 

The Wood-Swallows 1 1 1 

The Rock-Lily 112 

The Flame-Tree 112 


The Weird of Michael Scott 1 1 5 

The Twin-Soul 133 

The Isle of Lost Dreams 135 

The Death-Child 136 

The Coves of Crail 138 


Prelude 141 

Susurro 143 
High Noon at Midsummer on the 

Campagna 144 

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola 146 

Clouds 152 

Red Poppies 154 



The White Peacock 


The Swimmer of Nemi 


Al far della Notte 




The Shepherd 


The Mandolin 




La Velia 


Spuma dal Mare 


The Bather 


The Wild Mare 




The Wind at Fidenae 


Sorgendo da Luna 


In July : Agro Romano 


A Dream at Ardea 


De Profundis 


Ultimo Sospiro 

20 s 

Epilogue : 11 Bosco Sacro 


POEMS (1 889-1 893) 

Oceanus — I-IX 


A Paris Nocturne 


Robert Browning 


The Man and the Centaur 


Dionysos in India — A Fragment 


Ballad of the Song of the^Sea-Wind 

I 241 

SONNETS (1893) 

Sonnet-Sequence — I-VIII 


An Untold Story— I and II 


The Veils of Silence 


Written by the Sea 


The Menace of Autumn 






Flora in January 


POEMS (1893-1905) 

From Oversea 




The Sun Lord 


The Summer Woman 


Sycamores in Bloom 


Spring's Advent 


The Summer Wind 


The Hill Water 




The Yellowhammer's Song 


The Song of the Sea-Wind 


Spanish Roses 


The Sea-bom Vine 




On a Nightingale in April 


The Dirge of the Republic 


Into the Silence 


The Hill-Road to Ardmore 


White Rose 


Echoes of Joy 


When the Greenness is come again 


It happened in May 


Nightingale Lane 


Blossom of Snow 


The Dandelion 


The Dream-Wmd 




In Memoriam 



A Fragment 






Praise be the fathomless universe 
For life and joy . . . and love, 
sweet love. 


(To the one who has always first read everything 
I have written.) 

How can I tell thee, dear, what never words 
Have fitly told ? How ope my heart to thee 
Wherein thou mightst, as in a well, per- 
Deep down but the mere shadow of my love ? 
But as the wind sweeps from the icy north 
To some lov'd isle in dim Pacific seas. 
Or as the never-ceasing circling waves 
Follow round earth the radiant orb of night, 
So follow I with love unspeakable 
The pathways fill'd with light which are thine 

O love, thou art the flame that burns for me, 
My steady purpose ! That no dark can 

quench ! 
Holding thy hand I fear no more to watch 
The shifting of the changeful lights of Fate. 



Beneath the blue vault of ^ummer sky. 
Where little clouds with white wings strove 

to fly 
Far from the burning noon, leagues long 

there lay 
Wide heather moors that stretched till far 

Northward faint hills arose, and southward 

The ocean gleaming with sun-litten gold. 


And mid a great swell of the purple waste 
Close to the sea, a rock, which no hand 

Thus lonely and afar but which was hurled 
A meteor from some ruin'd starry world, 
Rose dark and frowning, with its hoar sides 

By winter tempests and the fiercely hard 

Childhood' s Inheritance 

Gripe of the death-frosts that from north- 
land heights 
Steal silent through grim January nights, 
And traced with furrows by the many tears 
Of rainy autumns thro' unnumber'd years. 


The purple moorland waste alone stretched 

Beneath the sun — no thing was seen beside 
To break the long still sweep that met the sky. 
No mounds of rocks confusedly piled high, 
No single tree with clear boughs limned in 

Against the blue, no white and dusty track. 
But only miles and miles and miles that swept 
Purple to where the leagueless waters leapt. 
The old rock stood forth like an ancient throne 
Great tho' forgotten, where the winds alone 
Paid homage, fair in the sunshme of the day. 
Solemn by night with phosphorescent grey. 


Around, the honey-laden bees humm'd loud 
With summer gladness ; in a mazy cloud 
Whirling the grey gnats rose and wheeled 

and spun 
Swift golden notes within the golden sun ; 

Childhood's Inheritance 

And bright with all their royal emblazonries 
Flashed like swift darts of fire great dragon- 
Away across the glowing moors there rang 
The lapwing's wild complaint, and far off 

Hidden in blue a small rejoicing lark 
Singing against some unseen yearn'd for 

mark : 
About the heath the yellowhammer's cry 
Piped sweet and clear, and often suddenly, 
With joyous chirps and jerks, the stonechat 

From spray to spray, and, darting flame-like 

The scented heather spires to where beneath 
The ants had silent kingdoms in the heath. 
The green-grey black-eyed lizard flashing shot 
So swift the hawk on poised wings saw it not. 


O'er all the deep skies arch'd a wondrous 

Of ardent azure while the sun had place. 
That changed to dark, deep depths when 

twilight grey 
Dreamt into night dark'ning to one vast 



Childhood's Inheritance 

Of purple-black, when lamplike star by star 
Sparkled or shone or pulsing flamed afar. 
Silence, save for each blent and natural 

Of earth and air — ^where sea-caves made the 

By tidal waves of ages undermined. 
Groan as in travail — ^when the trumpet wind 
All uncheck'd blew — or swelled the incessant 

Of tossed waves in their breaking agonies. 


Upon the summit of the ancient stone 
(Whose birth was in Time's 5'outh), and all 

Sat silent, tranced, and motionless a child, 
Like some sweet flow'r chance nurtured in 

the wild. 
Sat watching seabirds, with his eager eyes 
Full of the deep blue of the vaulted skies. 
A child, for he indeed was little more ; 
A child at heart, such as whom make the 

Of heaven seem open'd here — to whom the 

Breaking in foam, and scattered spray-swept 



Childhood' s Inheritance 

With long arms wrestling, and the winds on 

Invisible were wondrous living things. 


A flower, for his wind-kissed locks unshorn 
Shone yellow as gold daffodils at morn ; 
His eyes were blue as in the golden grain 
Windflow'rs are blue, and soft as after rain 
Violets that under dripping leaves have lain. 
And tender as a dappled fawn's that yearn 
For pity when the shrew-mice from the fern 
Shake down the dew-drops ; 'neath his sunlit 

As early morning, his sweet face was fair 
Beneath the sun-brown — ^as a white bud rose 
That flushes faintly while the June sun 

And even as he gazed there deeper grew 
Within his eyes a holier softer blue. 
Where some thought brooded in their sacred 

shade ; 
It seemed almost as if some song were laid 
Asleep upon his face that yet would find 
Some perfect utterance for the echoing wind 
To carry to the birds ; in reverie 
Raptured he saw what these could never 



Childhood's Inheritance 


Oh blessed time, when all God's world is fair 
And to the soul not foreign ! When the bare 
Wide cruel wastes of death-encumber 'd sea 
Seem as the voice of God that thunderingly 
Beats round the recreant earth ; when 

morning seems 
The revelation of one's utmost dreams 
Of beauty ; when the slow death of the day 
Makes all the west one glorious crimson way 
For happy souls that die ; and when the 

Wheeling her radiant orb thro' the dark 

Of night, with conscious splendour makes the 

Unutterably solemn, and great trees 
Lost in the shadow stand forth with huge 

Ghostly and clear ; when bird-songs are all 

Of joy and praise, and every wilding flower 
Is known and loved ; and when each pent- 
up hour 
Seems worse than wasted to the eager 

That fain would hear the thrush-wings strike 



Childhood' s Inheritance 

The beech leaves in short flight ere full and 

Burst the sweet tide of song, or watch the 

Stand with great eyes amid the fern, or 

Hearken the cuckoo's music fill the sky. 


He seemed content just silently to sit 

And watch the breaking waves, the swallows 

Like arrows through the air, save when along 
The summer wind swept bearing the sweet 

Of happy larks, or the repeated cries 
Of plovers when they caught the hawk's 

keen eyes 
Fixt on theiryoung — ^andthen he seem'd to be 
All sight and ear, as yearning tearfully 
To beat with spirit pinions that fine air 
Where at the gates of heaven exceeding fair 
The bird-songs rose and fell like silver tides. 
Or else to be as that royal bird that prides 
Itself on flinching not before the sun 
But stares undaunted, so he might have spun 
Downward with death upon the fierce pois'd 



Childhood's Inheritance 

Saving the moorland brood : not man or boy 
Seem'd he so much as some incarnate joy 
At one with all things fair, flow'r o' the sod 
And insect, to the Loveliness call'd God. 


As a red rose that in full bloom doth spread 
Her soft flushed bosom to the wind ere dead 
"Mid fallen leaves her queenliness is gone. 
So the fair westering day in glory shone 
Heedless of coming night though night was 

The sunset burned afar ; the holy sky 
Seem'd filled with heavenly forms mail'd in 

clear gold. 
Guiding their purple rafts through seas that 

Immeasurably far off in crimson fire. 
The sea lay tranced watching the day expire, 
And tired waves rose and fell as though each 

Of rest long sought were granted. Every- 
God's blessing brooded. And at last the day 
Veiling her head in twilight robes where- 
The palpitating stars shone faint and few. 

Childhood's Inheritance 


From out the darkening vault where they 

had hid 
Through sweltering heats of noon, swiftly 

there slid 
Star after star, each swimming from the near 
Dark blue of heaven, as from a windless mere 
Rise in calm morning twilights white and 

Young lily buds that open golden eyes 
Which joy makes wider when the day doth 



Far inland, with an oft-repeated cry 

The curlew wailed, and swelled mysteriously 

Hoarse sounds from the dim sea. The boy's 

face grew 
White in the dusky shade as swiftly flew 
A great grey gull close by him, like a ghost 
Haunting the desolate margins of the 

coast : 
Great moths came out, with myriad sharded 

Huge beetles droned, and other twilight 

Hummed their dim lives away, and through 

the air 


Childhood's Inheritance 

The flittermice wheeled whistling : while the 

Of summer lightnings flashing furtively 
Blazed for a moment o'er the sleeping sea. 


At last, with a long sigh, he turn'd and slid 

From the old rock, and for a little hid 

His face amongst the heather-spires that 

With cool sweet dews : then one last 

lingering look 
Across the twilight seas, whereo'er the moon 
Within her crescent shallop would sail soon, 
When with swift steps he turn'd and west- 
ward fled 
Across the moor by a little path that led. 
Almost unseen save known, till suddenly. 
Screened from the vision of the neighbouring 

Low in a dip between two moorland mounds 
A cottage lay ; whereto with rapid bounds 
He sped, and, bearing with him odours of 

salt foam. 
Entered the little doorway of his home. 



On a flower in a forest, 

A lily-bosom'd flower, 
(Where never windy tempest 

Came, nor ever any shower) — 
A golden hour of birthtide, 

(The sky was blue, so blue !) 
Left me lying 'mid a songtide 

Of birds of every hue. 

Upon the white flower swaying 

I laughed and sang in glee, 
Till the thrushes long delaying 

Sang back deliciously ; 
And the dear white cloudlets sleeping 

Up in the blue, blue sky, 
Seem'd downy cherubs peeping 

Between the pine boughs high. 

A little wind came blowing 

And sang a wild-wood song, 
It whispered of the flowing 

Of bubbling streams along ; 
I laughed, and stood, and rising 

Found I had two small wings — 
So then I flew rejoicing 

Toward the water-springs. 

Young Love 

And ever 'mid my flying, 

(A little cloud I seem'd !) 
I heard a great deep sighing, 

As earth in trouble dream'd ; 
And when I reached the river 

The sound more windlike blew : 
The glad stream lisped " for ever,' 

But the sighing grew and grew. 

And as I laughed and wonder'd 

Among the flowers and grass, 
All suddenly it thunder'd, 

The sunlight seem'd to pass : 
A great wind took and blew me 

Across a grey wet sand, 
And tho' I wept it threw me 

Far from the joyous land. 

And now the salt waves leaping 

Pursue with hungry springs. 
And baffled, blind, and weeping, 

I beat my draggled wings : 
This was the great deep sighing 

I heard when I was young — 
And now, wind-weary, dying. 

My last sob-note is sung ! 



Beneath the awful fuU-orb'd moon 
The silent tracts of wild-rice lay 

Dumb since the fervid heat of noon 
Beat through the burning Indian day ; 

And still as some far tropic sea 

Where no winds murmur, no waves be. 

The bending seeded tops alone 
Swayed in the sleepy sultry wind, 

Which came and went with frequent moan 
As though some dying place to find ; 

While at sharp intervals there rang 

The fierce cicala's piercing clang. 

Deep 'mid the rice-field's green-hued gloom 
A tigress lay with birth-throes ta'en ; 

Her serpent tail swept o'er her womb 
As if to sweep away the pain 

That clutched her by the gold-barred thighs 

And shook her throat with snarling cries. 

Her white teeth tore the wild-rice stems ; 

And as she moaned her green eyes grew 
Lurid hke shining baleful gems 

With fires volcanic lighten'd through, 


While froth fell from her churning jaws 
Upon her skin-drawn gleaming claws. 

As in a dream at some strange sound 
The soul doth seem to freeze, so she 

Lay fixed like marble on the ground, 
Changed in a moment : suddenly, 

A far-off roar of savage might 

Boomed through the silent sultry night. 

Her eyes grew large and flamed with fire ; 

Her body seem'd to feel the sound 
And thrill therewith, as thrills a lyre 

When wild wind wakes it with a bound 
And sweeps its string-clasp'd soul along 
In waves of melancholy song. 

Her answering howl swept back again 
And eddied to her far mate's ear ; 

Then once again the travail-pain 
Beat at the heart that knew no fear, 

But some new instinct seem'd to rise 

And yearn and wonder in her eyes. 

Did presage of the coming birth 
Light up her life with mother-love. 

As winds along the morning earth 
Whisper of golden dawn above ? 

Or was it but some sweet wild thought 

Remember'd vaguely ere forgot ? 
I 17 


Some sweet wild thought of that still night 
When underneath the low-lying moon, 

Vast, awful, in its splendour white. 
Two tigers fought for love's last boon : 

Two striped and fire-eyed terrors strove 

Through blood and foam to reach her love. 

Of how their fight so deathly still 
Fill'd all her heart with savage glee ; 

The lust to love, to slay, to kill, — 
The fierce desire with him to be 

Whose fangs all bloody from the fray 

Should turn triumphantly away : 

Of how at last with one wild cry 

One gript the other's throat and breath, 

And, with hell gleaming thro' each eye. 
Shook the wild life to loveless death ; 

Then stood with waving tail and ire 

Triumphant changed to swift desire ? 

But once again the bitter strife 
Of wrestling sinews shook her there ; 

And soon a little mewling life 
Met her bewilder'd yearning stare. 

Till, through her pain, the tigress strove 

With licking tongue her love to prove. 

No longer fearless flamed the light 
Of great green eyes straight thro' the 



Each nerve seem'd laden with affright, 

The eyes expectant of some doom ; 
The very moonlight's steady glare 
Beat hungrily about her lair. 

A beetle rose, and hummed, and hung 
A moment ere it fled — ^but great 
In face of peril to her young 

The tigress rose supreme in hate 
And, with tail switching and lips drawn, 
The unreal foe scowled out upon. 

And when a mighty cobra, coiled 
Amid the tangled grass-roots near. 

Hissed out his hunger, her blood boiled 
With rage that left no room for fear. 

Till, with a howl that shook the dark. 

She sprang and left him cold and stark. 

But when a feeble hungry waU 
Smote on her yearning ears she turn'd 

With velvet paws and refluent tail 

And eyes that no more flashed and burn'd 

But flamed throughout the solemn night 

Like lamps of soft sweet yellow light 

To where her young was ; where she lay 
Silent, and fuU of some strange love 

Long hours. Along the star-strewn way 
A comet flashed and flamed above, 


And where great wastes of solemn blue 
Spread starless sailed the vast moon through, 

No sound disturb'd the tigress, save 
Stray jackals, or some wild boar's pant 

Where thickest did the tall rice wave, 
Or trump of distant elephant ; 

Or, when these fiU'd the night no more, 

The tiger's deep tremendous roar. 


Vast, solitary, gloomful, dark. 

Primeval forests swept away 
To where the gum and stringy bark 

Against great granite mountains lay ; 
And through their depths the twilight stole 
And dusk'd still deeper each dark bole. 

Deep in their pathless tracks there reared 
A huge white gum, whose giant height 

When winds infrequent blew appeared 
To brush the stars out from the night : 

A mighty column, straight and vast, 

Soleran with immemorial past : 

And at its base upon a bed 

Of fern-tree leaves strewn o'er the ground 
A woman lay as though lying dead — 

Dark, rigid still, without one sound : 
Her fixed eyes lifted not, nor saw 
The great stars tremble in strange awe. 



Crouch'd near upon the tufted grass 
Two wither'd, long-haired women bent 

Two dusky bodies. No sign was 
Made ever them between, nor went 

From swift, slant, startled eyes a glance 

To break the spell of their deep trance. 

They crouch'd with heads bent down 
Thin, black uprisen knees ; their hair 
Hid their dark faces like a screen. 
And, scored with thorns, their feet lay 
bare : 
Hour after hour had watched them so. 
Three shadows fixt in sphinx-like woe. 

At times some wandering parrot's voice 
Clanged through the dusk ; from dead 
trees nigh 

A locust whirred its deafening noise 
And shrilled th' opossum's frequent cry : 

And hour by hour some slim snake stole 

Hissing from fallen rotting bole. 

At last, above the farthest range 
The full vast moon sail'd o'er the trees : 

The dead-like woman felt some change 
Thrill thro' her body ; from her knees 

Each shadow-watcher raised her head, 

And stared with eyes of moveless dread. 



Beyond — within the ghastly shade 

Of time-forgotten-guras aglow 
With phosphorescent light that made 

Each trunk burn taper-hke — ^bent low, 
A savage, bearded and long-haired, 
Wild-eyed across the pale gloom stared : 

And when his shifting, restless eyes 
Caught the drawn woman's birthtime 

He shrilled a wild yell to the skies 
And high with tossing arms upsprang 

Beating with eager blows a drum 

And shivering with some terror dumb : 

The list'ning women once again 

Shudder'd and grew more chill with 
fear — 
Not at the harsh drum's maddening strain 

But at the spirits that were near, 
The awful souls of hated dead 
That creep round each wild travail-bed ; 

The white-eyed sheeted things that steal 
Down dusky ways, and lie in wait 

And from the shade their death-darts wheel 
And wreak unseen their deathless hate : 

For these the fierce drum clanged and beat 

The summons of a swift retreat. 



What strange thoughts wander'd thro' the 

Of her who writhed in travail sore ? 
As, bearing scents and sounds, a wind 

Blows pregnant from some distant shore, 
So may have blown some wind of thought 
Memorious from a past forgot, 

Drifting across her yearning eyes 
Stray visions of lost happy days. 

And filling with strange vague surprise 
The dreary sameness of her gaze — 

Dim, sweet memorial hours long lost. 

Scorched by long suns, numbed by long frost. 

But soon the wafted breaths that blew 
From off the deep drown'd past were 

Aside before some sharp wind new 
Of sudden agony. A moan 

Shook on her lips, and from her womb 

A new life crept to outer gloom. 

The watching women rose and went 
With deft hands unto her : the man 

Hush'd his tempestuous instrument. 
And with fleet silent footsteps ran 

To where, asleep in moonlight, lay 

Some huts rough built from branches stray : 


And soon thereafter, in the light 
Of the full moon, the tribe stole out 

And fill'd with cries the startled night — 
Till, with claspt hands and one wild shout, 

They circled round the riven frame 

Of her whose blank eyes knew no shame. 

But as some feeble strength came back 
She stretched out thin and claw-like hands. 

With eyes as one who on a rack 
Yearns for mercy, or on strange lands 

Lifts outspread arms towards his own — 

So yearn'd she, with a mother's moan. 

Within her famish'd eyes no more 
The hunger of the body burned. 

But on the fruit her womb long bore 
Their light unspeakable was turned : 

And all the hunger of her love 

Lighten'd the child's eyes from above. 

Vast, solitary, gloomful, dark. 

Primeval forests swept away 
To where the gum and stringy bark 

Against the granite mountains lay : 
Till, as the great moon grew more wan. 
Stirred the first heart-beats of the dawn. 

And o'er the pathless tracks where reared 
The huge white gum, whose boughs had 



The woman's birth-throes,. light appeared 

And lit its leaves with golden green, 
And shone upon the straight trunk vast. 
Solemn with immemorial past. 


Faint scent of lilies filled the room, 
Hush'd in sweet silence and asleep 

Within the dim delicious gloom : 
No windy lamp-flame strove to leap 

Amidst the moveless shade, but faint 

A soft light burned from censer quaint. 

And dimly through the gloom loomed large 
A carven bed that seem'd to sail 

Like ghost of some great funeral barge 
'Mid shadow-seas no men might hail — 

Till from its depths suffused with night 

The wan sheets dreamed to gleaming white. 

And lo, half -hid, like some white flow'r 
Breasting the driven snow, there lay 

Expectant of the awful hour 
A waiting girl, who, far away 

Beyond where vision reacheth, gazed 

With eyes by some strange glory dazed. 


Like two strange dreams they were, wherein 
Played subtle lights of other life, 

Deep depths, scarce cognisant of sin. 
Serene, beyond all clamorous strife — 

Two seas unsoundable as night 

Yet lit to utmost depths with light. 

Silent she lay, as one who low 
In some dim vast deserted nave 

Bends rapt in mingled love and woe 
While the wild, passionate, sweeping wave 

Of organ music sweeps and rolls — 

The burden of all suffering souls. 

Silent she lay, for as a palm 

Within a thirsty desert feels 
A low wind break the deathly calm 

And drinks each rain-drop as it steals 
Between its dry parch' d leaves, so she 
Felt God's breath fill her fitfully. 

The soft low wind of life divine 
Entered the darkened womb, and there 

It cleft the mystic bands that twine 
The folded bud of childhood fair. 

Which, as an open'd lily, fell 

From death to life's strange miracle. 


O perfect bud of human flow'r 

Immactilately sweet and pure, 
Shall God's first influence in this hour 

Through all thy coming life endure, 
And thou expand to perfect bloom 
Untouched by crash of neighbouring doom ? 

Or, sweet perfect human bud, 

Shall rains thee dash, and wild winds sweep 
Thy fair head to the mire and mud. 

And, with praying hands, thy mother weep 
Such tears of anguish as no pain 
Shall ever wring from her again ? 

Soft, soft, the wind of life doth breathe : — 
Some angel surely fans the while 

The faint new-litten spark beneath, 
And prayeth with a piteous smile 

That it may live, and living be 

A victor 'midst humanity. 

Silent she lay who soon should give 
This life to life : her secret thought 

Strove 'mid the happy past to live 
Again that day she ne'er forgot, 

That day when her young love took wing 

From maidenhood's sweet-scented spring : 


When hand in hand she trod the ways 
Flow'r-strewn with him, and felt his eyes 

Turn'd full on her with such deep gaze 
Of love triumphant, that the skies 

Seem'd but a hollow dome where rang 

Sweet tumult, as though angels sang : 

How the hush'd drowsy afternoon 
Slipt through the summertide, till low 

In the dark tranquil east the moon 
Rose vast and yellow, and more slow 

The flaming star that lights the west 

Lulled the sea-waters to their rest : 

How in the bridal chamber shone 
No other than the full-moon's light, 

And how between the dusk and dawn 
A wind of passion fiU'd the night 

And bore resistless soul with soul 

On to love's utmost crowning goal. 

Silent she was, but as her mind 

Made real once more that perfect day 

Her body trembled, as a wind 

Had blown upon her where she lay, 

And in her eyes serene and deep 

Joys unforgotten woke from sleep. 


As on a mighty midnight sea 

Wind-swept, and lit by a white glare 
Where intermittent lightnings flee 

And deafened by the thunderous air 
Split up with tumult, one great wave 
Doth rise and scorn an ocean-grave, 

And, gathering volume as it rolls. 
Doth sweep triumphant tiU at last 

It thunders up the sounding shoals 
Of stricken promontory aghast. 

And leaves its crown of foam where high 

The cliffs stare seaward steadily : 

So from love's throbbing pulsing sea 
All hghtning-lit by passion, reared 

A mighty wave resistlessly 

Of mother-love, which as it neared 

Fvdfilment broke in one glad cry 

Of sweet half-wond'ring ecstasy. 

Hush ! the great sea is still, and low 
The night-wind wanders ; hush, for calm 

The mother waits the body's woe. 
Silent she lay ; mayhap a psalm 

Of sacred joy sang deep within 

The maiden heart unstained by sin. 


Mayhap the inward vision saw 
The unborn soul arise and stand 

Great in a people's love and awe, 

Crown'd not with gold by human hand 

But sacred with the bays that wait 

The victor in the strife of Fate : 

And deeper still, beheld afar 
The billows of the ages sweep 

A mightier soul from star to star — 
So ever upwards through the steep 

Dim ways of God's unfathom'd will 

But aye by fuller periods still. 

So shall it be for ever : evermore 

The mystic wheel of mother-love shall whirl 

Around the world, and link these three again. 



I know that my Redeemer liveth — but out 

of the depths of time 
He hath not called to me yet. But from th' 

immeasurable tracts 
That widen unending to where beginneth 

Falleth at times a voice, heart-thrilling, 

soul-piercing, life-giving ; 
High sometimes and clear, as a lark singing 

in a holy dawn, 
Hush'd and afar off again as a dreaming 

wave upon seas 
Lit by a low vast moon, and windlessly 

sleeping, but ever 
Sweet with a human love, and full of 

ineffable yearning. 
And crying of soul unto soul from infinite 

deep unto deep. 
And sometimes I look and gaze out upon 

uttermost darkness 
And hear the wail of desolate winds moaning 

around the world — 

The Redeemer 

Till the darkness shivers to light, and 
clashing thro' earth and heaven 

I hear great wings make music, and mar- 
vellous thunderous songs 

Shout " Thy Redeemer liveth, O human 
soul, and crieth for thee ! " 



Fair in my sight as white lilies that shine in 

the sunrise : 
Sweeter than flow'rs in the meadows that 

scent the mornings of spring : 
Dearer than vision of truth, for thou art the 

truth revealed, 
Dearer than faith, for thou art the crown 

of aspiration, 
Dearer than hope, for of hope thou art the 

fulfilment ! 
love, love, loyie, thou hast turned the 

darkness of the world 
Into ineffable light, and all its intricate 

To straight, clear paths that lead from the 

depths to the heavens. 
The flower of my soul sways high in the wind 

of thy love. 
Glowing with passionate fervour through 

fulness of joy ; 
Soul with soul are we wedded, beyond the 

decay of the body, 
I 33 c 

Lines to E. A. S. 

And spirit hath spirit touched, beyond the 

confines of flesh : 
Desire with mighty wings hath swept the 

chords of our being, 
And flesh and spirit are one in the mystic 

union of love ! 





full-voiced herald of immaculate Spring, 
With clarion gladness striking every tree 
To answering raptures, as a resonant sea 
Fills rock-bound shores with thunders echo- 
O thou, each beat of whose tempestuous 
Shakes the long winter-sleep from hill and 

And rouses with loud reckless jubilant glee 
The birds that have not dared as yet to 

O Wind that comest with prophetic cries. 
Hast thou indeed beheld the face that is 
The joy of poets and the glory of birds — 
Spring's face itself : hast thou 'neath bluer 
Met the warm lips that are the gates of 

And heard June's leaf-like murmur of 
sweet words ? 



There comes not through the o'erarching 
cloud of green 
A harsh, an envious sound to jar the ear : 
But vaguely swells a hum, now far, now 
Where the wild honey-bee beyond the 

Of beech-leaves haunts the field of flowering 
Far, far away the low voice of the weir 
Dies into silence. Hiish'd now is the clear 
Sweet song down-circling from the lark 

Beyond me, where I lie, the shrew-mice run 
A-patter where of late the streamlet's tones 
Made music : on a branch a drowsj^ bird 
Sways by the webs that midst dry pools are 
spun — 
Yet lives the streamlet still, for o'er flat 
The slow lapse of the gradual wave is 



I am God's eldest : — I and Love are twin ; 
We look for ever in the other's face ; 
Together our flight wings throughout all 
space — 
Sun, Star, Man, God, alike we dwell therein ; 
Some far-off goal together strive to win. 
But here on earth I leave the mightier 

Clasp hands more close with all the 
human race. 
And weave the shadow- webs of joy and sin. 

And most I dwell in the clear skies at dawn. 
In marvellous eves when all the stars are 
In music ere the sweetest chord is gone. 
In woman's beauty still unsoUed and 
In children's slumber in the morning wan; 
And lovers' vows and yearnings in the 



As day doth live beyond the sunset skies 
So life may wait ns at the silent grave : 
Not windless is the sea because there rave 
Not always the great storm-wind's har- 
There may be light too strong for earthly 
There may be hands to succour and to 

From Death's indifferent o'erwhelming 
wave ; 
Nay, Death may lift to some divine sur- 
prise ! 

There may be music beyond instruments, 
And Spring for ev'ry frost-nipt shapeless 
There may be mightier love sacraments 

Than e'er were seen on consecrated sod ; 
A man there may be with Christ's linea- 
And 'mid the wheels of Fate a living God. 




From out the darkness cometh never a sound : 
No voice doth reach us from the silent 

place : 
There is one goal beyond life's blindfold 
For victor and for victim — burial-ground. 
O friend, revered, belov'd, mayst thou have 
Beyond the shadowy gates a yearning face, 
A beckoning hand to guide thee with 
swift pace 
From the dull wave Lethean gliding round. 

Hope dwelt with thee, not Fear ; Faith; 
not Despair : 
But little heed thou hadst of the grave's 
What though thy body lies so deeply there 
Where the land throbs with tidal surge 
and boom. 
Thy soul doth breathe some Paradisal air 
And Rest long sought thou hast where 
amaranths bloom, 




Yet even if Death indeed with pitiful sign 
Bade us drink deep of some obhvious 

Is it not well to know, ere we have 
The soul-deceiving poppied anodyne, 
That not in vain erewhile we drink the 
Of life — ^that not all blankly or in craft 
Of evil went the days wherein we laughed 
And joyed i' the sun unknowing aught 
divine ? 

Not so thy doom whatever fate betide : 
Not so for thee O poet-heart and true 
Who fearless watched, as evermore it 
The shadow of Death creep closer to thy 
A glory with thy ebbing life withdrew 
And we inherit now its deathless Pride. 





I love and worship thee in that thy ways 
Are fair, and that the glory of past days 

Haloes thy brightness with a sacred hue. 
Within thine eyes are dreams of mystic 

Within thy voice a subtler music rings 
Than ever mortal from the keen reeds 

drew ; 
Thou weav'st a web which men have called 

But Life is in the magic of thy breath. 

The secret things of Earth thou knowest 

well ; 
Thou seest the wild bee build his narrow cell, 
The lonely eagle wing through lonely skies. 
The lion on the desert roam afar, 
The glow-worm glitter like a fallen star, 

The hour-lived insect as it hums and flies ; 
Thou seest men like shadows come and go. 
And all their endless dreams drift to and 


Madonna Natura 

In thee is strength, endurance, wisdom, 

truth : 
Thou art above all mortal joy and ruth. 
Thou hast the calm and silence of the 

night : 
Mayhap thou seest what we cannot see, 
Siu-ely far off thou hear'st harmoniously 

Echoes of flawless music infinite. 
Mayhap thou feelest thrilling through each 

Beneath thy feet the very breath of God. 

Monna Natura, fair and grand and great, 
I worship thee, who art inviolate : 
Through thee I reach to things beyond 

this span 
Of mine own puny hfe, through thee I learn 
Courage and hope, and dimly can discern 

The ever noble grades awaiting man : 
Madonna, unto thee I bend and pray — 
Saviour, Redeemer thou, whom none can 

slay ! 

No human fanes are dedicate to thee, 
But thine the temples of each tameless sea. 
Each mountain-height and forest-glade 
and plain : 
No priests with daily hymns thy praises 


Madonna Natura 

But far and wide the wild winds chanting 

And dirge the sea-waves on the changeless 

While songs of birds fill all the fields and 

And cries of beasts the savage solitudes. 

Hearken, Madonna, hearken to my cry ; 
Teach me through metaphors of liberty. 
Till strong and fearing nought in life or 

I feel thy sacred freedom through me thrill, 
Wise, and defiant, with unquenched will 
Unyielding, though succumb the mortal 

breath — 
Then if I conquer, take me by the hand 
And guide me onward to thy Promised 




tears that well up to my eyes. 

And vague thoughts wandering thro' my 

Whence come ye ? From what alien skies. 
From what dim sorrow, what strange 

pain ? 

1 hear old memories astir 

In dusky twilights of the past : 

voices telling me of her, 

My soul, whom now I know at last : 

1 know her not by any name, 

But she with hope or feax is pale ; 
I see her ere this body came 
From mortal womb with mortal wail. 

Later and later through long years. 
Through generations of dead men, 

I see her in her mist of tears, 
I see her in her shroud of pain. 

I see her whom the aeons have raised 
From one dim birth to endless life ; 

I see her strive, regain, re-fail 
Forever in the endless strife. 

During Music 

I see her, soul of man, and soul 
Of woman, and in many lands : 

Her eyes are fixt on some far goal • 
But she hath neither thrall nor bands. 

On one day yet to come I see 

This body pale and cold and dead : 

The spirit once again made free 
Hovers triumphant overhead. 

Again, again, O endless day, 
I see her in new forms pace on. 

And ever with her on the way 
Fair kindred souls in unison. 

wandering thoughts within my brain, 

O voices speaking low to me, 
O music sweet with stingless pain. 

Bring clear the vision that I see ! 

O ecstasy of sound, O pain ! 

Too sad my heart, too sad the tears 
It bringeth to my eyes again. 

Too strange the hopes, too strange the 



If the soul withdraweth from the body, what profit 
thereafter hath a man of all the days of his life ? 

She died indeed, but to him her breath 
Was more than a light blown out by death : 
He knew that they breathed the self-same 

That not midst the dead was her pale face 

But that she waited for him somewhere. 

To some dead city, or ancient town, 
Where the mould'ring towers were crumbling 

Or in some old mansion habited 
By dust and silence and things long dead. 
He knew the Shadows of Souls were led. 

For years he wandered a weary way. 
His eyes shone sadder, his hair grew grey : 
But still he knew that she lived for whom 
No grave lay waiting, no white carv'd tomb. 
No earthly silence, no voiceless gloom. 

Shadowed Souls 

But once in a bitter year he came 

To an old dying town with a long dead 

name : 
That eve, as he walked thro' the dusty ways 
And the echoes woke in the empty place. 
He came on a Shadow face to face. 

It looked, but uttered no word at all 
Then beckoned him into an old dim hall : 
And lo, as soon as he passed between 
The pillars with age and damp mould green 
His eyes were dazed by a strange wild 

A thousand lamps fiU'd the place with light. 
And fountains glimmered faerily bright ; 
But never a single sound was heard. 
The dreadful silence was never stirred, 
Not even the breath of a single word 

Came from the shadowy multitude. 

More dense than leaves in a summer wood. 

Than the sands where the swift tides ebb 

and flow ; 
But ever the Shades moved to and fro 
As windless waves on the sea will go. 

Then he who had come to the Shadow-land 
Swift strode by many'a group and band ; 


Shadowed Souls 

But never a glimpse he caught of her, 

In fleeting shadow or loiterer, 

For whom the earth held no sepulchre. 

He knew that she was not dead whom he 

So loved with bitterest memory. 

To whom through anguish'd years he had 

prayed ; 
Yet came she never, no sign was made. 
No touch on his haggard frame was laid. 

At last to an empty room he came. 
And there he saw in letters of flame : 
" This is a palace no king controls, 
A place unwritten in human scrolls, — 
This is the Haunt of Shadowed Souls : 

" If thy Shadow-soul be here no more, 
Seek thine old life's deserted shore : 
And there, mayhap, thou wilt find again. 
Recovered now through sorrow and pain. 
The Soul thou didst thy most to have slain." 



" To suffer grief is to be strong. 

And to be strong is beautiful and rare ' ' — 
'Twas in thy court, O Love, I learned it 
This sad sweet song ! 

No one man dwells thy ways among, 

Who shall not learn thy thousand ways 

of grief 
Or how wild fears succeed each poor 
In dark'ning throng : 

There too a man may learn to put away 
The crowned summit of his heart's 

desire ; 
But O, the bitter burning of love's fire — 
Its bitterer ashes grey ! 



While sways the restless sea 

Beyond the shore, 
And the waves sing listlessly 

Their secret lore, 
And the soft fragrant air 

From off the deep 
Scarce stirs thine outspread hair,- 
Sleep ! 

Far up in purple skies 

Great lamps hang out. 
White flames that fall and rise 

In motley rout ; 
While fall their silvern rays 

O'er crag and steep. 
Woodlands and meadow-ways, — 
Sleep ! 

While the moon's amber gleams 

Gild rock and flow'r. 
Let no untimely dreams 

Possess the hour : 
Let no vague fears the heart 

'Mid slumber keep. 
In dreams love hath no smart; — 
Sleep ! 



She, brooding ever, dwells amidst the hills ; 
Her kingdom is call'd Solitude ; her 

name — 
More terrible than desolating flame — 
Is Silence ; and her soul is Pain. 
Day after day some weightier sorrow fiUs 
Her heart, and each new hour she knows 
The birth of further woes. 
And whoso, journeying, goes 
Unto the land wherein she dwells for aye 
Shall not come thence until have passed 
For evermore the bright joy of his years. 
She giveth rest, but giveth it with tears. 
Tears that more bitter be 
Than drops of the Dead Sea : 
But never gives she peace to any soul 
For how could she that rarest gift bestow 
Who well doth know 
That though in dreams she can attain the 
In dreams alone her steps can thithgj. 


Mater Dolorosa 

Solitude, Silence, Pain, for all who live 
Within the twilit realms that are her own, 
And even Rest to those who seek her 
But these her gifts alone : 
Peace hath she not and therefore cannot 



When the beech-trees are green in the 
And the thorns are whitened with may, 
And the meadow-sweet blows and the 
yellow gorse blooms 
I sit on a wind-waved spray, 
And I sing through the livelong day 
From the golden dawn till the sunset 
comes and the shadows of gloaming 

And I sing of the joy of the woodlands, 

And the fragrance of wild-wood flowers, 
And the song of the trees and the hum of 
the bees 
In the honeysuckle bowers. 
And the rustle of showers 
And the voice of the west wind calling as 
through glades and green branches he 

When the sunset glows over the woodlands 
More sweet rings my lyrical cry, 

The Song of the Thrush 

With the pain of my yearning to be 'mid 
the burning 
And beautiful colours that lie 
'Midst the gold of the sun-down sky. 
Where over the purple and crimson and 
amber the rose-pink cloud-curls fly. 

Sweet, sweet swells my voice thro' the 
Repetitive, marvellous, rare : 
And the song-birds cease singing as my 
music goes ringing 
And eddying echoing there. 
Now wild and now debonair. 
Now fill'd with a tumult of passion that 
throbs like a pulse in the hush'd warm 
air ! 



What is a bird but a living flower ? 
A flower but the soul of some dead bird ? 
And what is a weed but the dying breath 
Of a perjured word ? 

A flower is the soul of a singing-bird, 

Its scent is the breath of an old-time song : 

But a weed and a thorn spring forth each 

For a new-done wrong. 

Dead souls of song-birds, thro' the green 

Or deep in the midst of the golden grain, 
In woodland valley, where hill-streams pass, 
We flourish again. 

We flowers are the joy of the whole wide 

Sweet nature's laughter and secret tears — 
Whoso hearkens a bird in its spring-time 

The song of a flow'r-soul hears ! 



For miles along the sunlit lands 
We sway in waves of gold, 
A yellow sea that past the strands 
Has inland rolled. 

The sweet dews feed us thro' the night, 
The soft winds blow around ; 
The dayshine gladdens us with light 
And stores the ground. 

We feed a thousand happy birds, 
The field-mice have their share — 
Surely to these the reaping swords 
Some grains can spare. 

The deep joy of the joyous earth, 
We feel it throb and thrill ; 
The sweet return of natural mirth, 
Spring's miracle. 

All lands rejoice in us, we have 
A glory such as kings 
Might envy — ^but our gold we wave 
For humbler things. 

Song of the Cornfields 

Our golden harvest is for those 
Who strive and toil through life, 
Who feel its agonies, its throes, 
Its want, its strife. 

O'er all the broad lands 'neath the sun, 
We spring, we ripen, glow ; 
The seasons change, the swift days run,- 
Again we grow. 



When the moon shines o'er the corn 
And the beetle drones his horn, 
And the flitterraice swift fl}', 
And the nightjars swooping cry, 
And the young hares run and leap, 
We waken from our sleep. 

And we climb with tiny feet 

And we munch the green corn sweet 

With startled eyes for fear 

The white owl should fly near, 

Or long slim weasel spring 

Upon us where we swing. 

We do no hurt at all : 
Is there not room for all 
Within the happy world ? 
All day we lie close curled 
In drowsy sleep, nor rise 
Till through the dusky skies 
The moon shines o'er the corn. 
And the beetle drones his horn, 



I come from out the West, 
And I breathe a breath of rest. 
And the sweet birds greet me singing 
From every tiny nest. 

I am the wind of fiow'rs — 
I haunt the wild-wood bow'rs — 
And when my song is ringing 
Spring knows her sweetest hours. 

But when the autumn days 
Grow short, I rise and race 
Thro' all the woodlands, flinging 
Strewn leaves o'er every place. 

When winter comes once more, 
With deep tumultuous roar 
I sweep o'er ocean, bringing 
Wild tempests to each shore. 



We are the harps which the winds play, 

A myriad tones in one vast sound 

That the earth hearkens night and day — 

A ceaseless music swaying round 

The whole wide world, each voiceful tree 

Echoing the wave-chants of the sea. 

For even as inland waves that moan 
But break not 'midst the unflowing green 
Our trees are : and when tempests groan 
And howl our frantic boughs between, 
Our tumult is as when the deep 
Struggles with winds that o'er it sweep. 

'Neath bitter northern skies we stand, 
Silent amidst the unmelting snows. 
Gaunt warders of the desolate land : 
Silent, save when the keen wind blows 
The drifting wreaths about our feet. 
Then moan we mournful music sweet. 

Or in vast ancient woods of beech 
Far south we make Spring's dearest home 
The haunt of myriad songsters, each 
A living flow'r made free to roam 

Hymn of the Forests 

From bough to bough, and thence we send 
A forest-music without end. 

'Neath tropic suns and ceaseless glow 
With orient splendours we are filled : 
'Midst Austral solitudes we grow. 
Where seldom human voice has thrilled : 
And ever and where'er we rise 
We chant our ancient harmonies. 

For aye the sea sings loud and long 

In strange and solemn mystery 

A wonderful transmitted song — 

The echo of all history — 

This song o'er all earth's lands we sing 

While round the circling seasons swing. 



Wide, open, free, unbounded, vast, 
We leagueless stretch the wide world o'er : 
Above us sweeps the desert blast, 
Or booms the lion's reverberate roar 
Or the long howl of wolves that race 
Like shadows o'er the moonlit space 
In tireless, swift, relentless chase. 

We are the haunt of all the winds. 
O'er us as o'er the sea they sweep 
In boundless freedom : each blast finds 
A leagueless waste whereo'er to leap 
And race unchecked, — and day and night 
We hear the wild rush of their flight, 
A desert-music infinite. 

Ten thousand leagues of grassy plain 
We stretch, or trackless wastes of sand : 
O'er us no mortal king doth reign. 
But Bedouin or savage band 
And wild-eyed beasts of prey alone 
Wander about our tameless zone ; 
That bondage never yet hath known. 


{A Fragment) 

For, God wot, not the less a thing is true 
Though every wight may not it chance to see. 

I hear the dark tempestuous sea 
Boom through the night monotonously, 
The hoarse faint cry of breaking waves 
Lashed by the wind that moans and raves 
Upon the deep — I hear them fall 
Against chff -bases smooth and tall, 
A music wild, funereal. 

I seem to listen to a sound 
That circles earth for ever round, 
The dirge of an eternal song, 
A dull deep music swept along 
The listening coasts of many lands, 
Sighed mournfully o'er level sands, 
Or thunder'd amidst rocky strands. 

I sit within my lonely room 
Where the lamp's flame just breaks the 


A Record 

And thro' the darkness of the night 
I see far down a starry light 
Where nestled safely in the chine 
The village street in one long line 
Doth like a glittering serpent shine. 

The keen wind blows through the dark 

The stars look down like countless eyes 
That see and know, and therefore stare 
Unmoved 'midst their serene high air : 
And life seems but a dream, a shade 
Which fleeting Time o'er space hath laid, 
But which with Time shall one day fade. 

Old memories are mine once more, 
I see strange lives I lived of yore ; 
With dimmed sight see I far-off things, 
I feel the breath of bygone springs, 
And ringing strangely in mine ears 
I hear old laughter, alien tears 
Slow falling, voices of past years. 

Far back the soul can never see — 
But dreams restore mysteriously 
Dim visions of a possible past, 
A time ere the last bond was cast 
Aside that bound the struggling soul 
Unto the brute, and first some goal 
Loomed dimly over Life's vast shpal. 

A Record 

And dreaming so I live my dream : 

I see a yellow turbid stream 

Heavily flowing through clustered weeds 

Of tropic growth, and 'midst the reeds 

Of tall green rice upon its bank 

A crouching tiger, long and lank, 

With slow tail swaying from flank to flank. 

Its eyes are yellow flames, and burn 
Upon a man who dips an urn 
Into the Ganges' sacred wave, 
Unknowing he has reached his grave — 
A short, hoarse roar, a scream, a blow ! 
And even as I shudder, lo. 
My tiger-selt I seem to know. 

And dreaming so I lives my dream : 

I see a sunrise glory gleam 

Against vast mountain-heights, and there 

Upon a peak precipitous, bare, 

I see an eagle scan the plain 

Immeasurable of his domain. 

With fierce untamable disdain : 

When first the stais wax pale his eyes 
Front the wide east where day doth rise, 
And with unflinching gaze look straight 
Against the sun, then proud, elate. 
On tireless wings he swoops on high 

A Record 

O'ercoimtless leagues, and thro' the sky 
Drifts like a dark cloud ominously : 

Then as day dies and swift night springs, 

I hear the sudden rush of wings 

And see the eagle from the plain 

Sweep to his eyrie once again 

With fierce keen dauntless eyes aglow — 

And even as I watch them, lo. 

Mine eagle-self I seem to know. 

And dreaming so I live my dream : 

I hear a savage voice, a scream 

Scarcely articulate, and far 

I see a red light like a star 

Flashed 'neath old trees, and the first fire 

Made by the brutish tribe burn higher 

Until unfed its flames expire : 

I see the savage whose hand drew 

The fire from wood, whose swift breath blew 

The flame until it gained new strength, — 

I see him stand supreme at length, 

And pointing to the burning flame 

Bend low his swart and trembling frame 

And cry aloud a guttural name : 

A god at last the tribe hath found, 
A god at wh6se strange crackling sound 

A Record 

Each man must bend in dread until 

This strange new god hath worked his will 

But lo, one day the fire spread fast, 

And ere its fury is o'erpast 

The tribe within its furnace-blast 

Hath perish'd, save one man alone 
Who far in sudden fear hath flown : 
But with a gleam of new-born thought 
A second flame he soon hath wrought 
Only to tramp it down, aware 
At last that no dead god lies there, 
Or one for whom no man need care. 

He looks around to see some god, 
And far upon the fire-scorch'd sod 
He sees his brown-burnt tribesmen lie, 
And thinks their voices fill the sky, 
And dreads some unseen sudden blow — 
And even as I watch him, lo, 
My savage -self I seem to know. 

And dreaming so I live my dream : 
I see a flood of moonlight gleam 
Between vast ancient oaks, and round 
A rough-hewn altar on the ground 
Weird Druid priests are gathered 
While through their midst a man is led 
With face that is already dead : 

.4 Record 

A low chant swells throughout the wood, 

Then comes a solemn interlude 

Ere loudlier rings dim aisles along 

Some ancient sacrificial song ; 

Before the fane the victim kneels 

And without sound he forward reels 

When the priest's knife the death-blow deals : 

The moonlight falls upon his face, 

His blood is spatter'd o'er the place. 

But now he is ev'n as a flow'r 

Uprooted in some tempest hour. 

Dead, but whose seed shall elsewhere grow : 

And as I look upon him, lo, 

Some old ancestral-self I know. 

Thus far dreams bring mysteriously 
Visions of past lives back to me ; 
Visions alone perhaps they are, 
Each one a wandering futile star 
Flash'd o'er the mental firmament, — 
Yet may be thus in past times went 
My soul in gradual ascent. 

None sees the slow sure upward sweep 
By which the soul from life- depths deep 
Ascends — unless, mayhap, when free 
With each new death we backward see 

A Record 

The long perspective of our race, 

Our multitudinous past lives trace 

Since first as breath of God through space 

Each came, and filled the lowest thing 

With life's faint pulse scarce quivering ; 

So ever onward upward grew, 

And ever with each death-birth knew 

An old sphere left, a mystic change — 

A sense of exaltation strange 

Thus through a myriad Jives to range. 

But even in our mortal lives 
At times the eager spirit strives 
To gain through subtle memories 
Some hint of life's past mysteries — 
Brief moments they, that flash before 
Bewilder'd eyes some scene of yore. 
Some vivid hour returned once more. 

Swift through the darken'd clouds of 

A sudden lightning-gleam intense 
Reveals some glimpse of the long past. 
Some memory comes back at last — 
And yet 'twas but a sudden strain 
Of song — a scent — a sound of rain — 
Some trifle — made all clear again. 

A Record 

With a swift glance such gUmpses come 
And go — ^but there are times for some 
When keen the vision is, so keen 
That thenceforth the indeUble scene 
Remains within the mind for aye, 
Some reminiscence sad or gay. 
Some action of a bygone day. 

Thus came to me memorious gleams 

From the closed past, no sleep-brought 

But revelations flashed out swift 
Upon the mind : a sudden lift 
Of the dense cloud of all past years, — 
A moment when the thrilling ears 
Heard, or the eyes slow filled with tears. 

Thus has there flashed across my sight 

A desert in a blinding light 

Of scorching sun, a dreary waste 

Of burning sand where seldom paced 

The swift, gaunt camels with their freight 

Of merchandise, but where the weight 

Of silence lay inviolate. 

There a few sterile rocks lay white 
In the sun's glare, a band by might 
Of old convulsions thither hurl'd 
In the far days of the young world : 

A Record 

And in their midst a hollow cave 
Was cleft, where dwelt, as in a grave. 
One who came thence his soul to save. 

Young, and from out the joyous strife 

Of men he came to this drear life : 

No more for him the wine's swift spell, 

No more for him love's miracle — 

But bitter as the dead sea's dust 

Seem'd all past joys — dread things to thrust 

Aside, all equally accursed. 

In fervid prayer all day he sought 
God's grace : in dreams at night he fought 
The fierce temptations born of youth. 
Awake, he strove to reach God's truth — 
Asleep, he felt his passions rise 
And darken all the heav'nly skies 
With dread deceitful lovely lies. 

Thus year by year he fell and rose 
In endless conflict, till his woes 
Fill'd all his days with burning tears 
And dreadful never-ending fears : 
Haggard he grew from scanty food, 
With sun and blast and shelter rude 
And terrors of his lonelihood. 

With long hair streaming out behind 
He raced before the burning wind. 
With wild insane strained eyes alert 

A Record 

For demons lurking to his hurt — 
And though the sun beat fiercely hot 
Upon the sands, he heeded not 
But like a wand'ring shadow shot 

Across the burning level waste, 

Oft shouting as he wildly raced 

" My body is in hell, but I, 

Its soul, thus hither speed and cry 

To God to blow me as a leaf 

From out this agony of grief. 

To slay, and give me death's relief ! " 

Oft as he fled, with from his mouth 

The white froth blown* thro' maddening 

He pass'd the crouching lion's lair — 
But when his shrill laugh fiU'd the air 
The desert monarch shrank, as though 
He feared this raving shadow's woe. 
This haggard wretch with eyes aglow. 

But when the sun sank past the west 
The hermit fled the desert, lest 
God's eyes should lose him in the night, 
And foes Satanic guide his flight 
Till soul and body once again 
Made one should with the pangs of twain, 
In hell for ever writhe in pain. 

A Record 

But when sleep came to him he lay 
In peace, and oft a smile would play 
Upon his face as though once more 
In dreams he lived his life of yore, — 
The life he did himself dismiss. 
The old sweet time of joy and bliss, — 
Heard laughter, or felt some loved kiss. 

Thus have I seen, and seeing known 

That he who lived afar alone, 

A hermit on a dreary waste, 

Was even that soul mine eyes have traced 

Through brute and savage steadily, 

That he even now is part of me 

Just as a wave is of the sea. 

Far out across the deep doth swell 

The hoarse boom of the Black- Rock bell, 

A heavy moan monotonous. 

An inner sea-sound ominous,i 

As though throughout the ocean there 

Relentless Conscience aye did bear 

A bitter message of despair. 

Still sweeps the old impetuous sea 
Around the green earth ceaselessly — 
Changeless, yet full of change, it seems 
The very mirror of those dreams 

A Record 

We call men's lives — for are not they 
Like life-sea waves Fate's winds doth sway 
And break, yet which pass not away 

Through depth of silent air, but blend 
Once more with the deep and lend 
Their never dying music sweet 
To the great choral song complete ; 
Each death is but a birth, a change — 
Each soul through myriad by-ways strange, 
Through birth and death, doth upward 



Here, where in dim forgotten days 
A savage people chanted lays 
To long since perished gods, I stand : 
The sea breaks in, runs up the sand, 
Retreats as with a long-drawn sigh. 
Sweeps in again ; again leaves dry 
The ancient beach, so old and yet 
So new that as the strong tides fret 
The island barriers in their flow 
The ebb-hours of each day can know 
A surface change. The day is dead, 
The sun is set, and overhead 
The white north stars shine keen and bright ; 
The wind upon the sea is light 
And just enough to stir the deep 
With phosphorescent gleams and sweep 
The spray from salt waves as they rise : 
And yonder light — ^is't from the skies 
Some meteor strange, a burning star — 
Or a lamp hung upon a spar 
Of vessel undescribed ? It gleams 
And rises slowly, till it seems 

Moonrise from lona 

A burning isle, an angel-throne 
Reset on earth, a mountain-cone 
Of gold new-risen from sea-caves — • 
Until at last above the waves, 
Salt with Atlantic brine, it swims 
A silver crescent. Now no hymns 
In the wild Runic speech are heard. 
No chant, no sacrificial word : 
But only moans the weary sea, 
And only the cold wind sings free. 
And where the Runic temples stood 
The bat flies and the owl doth brood. 



A more than twilight darkness dwells 
Upon the long lagoons : the bells 
Of distant Venice come and go 
Like sounds in dreams ; the tide's soft flow 
Sweeps onward, and a wandering gull 
Flits o'er the track of yon black hull 
Just fading in the gloom — ^no more 
I see or hear 'tween shore and shore : 
But as I lie and dreamily 
Watch the dark water from the sea 
Slip past the boat, in its blurred sky 
I see the crescent moon on high 
Casting curv'd golden flakes far down 
Amidst the calm lagoon — a crown 
Broken innumerably up, 
The gold bands of a broken cup. 
I take an oar and make a rift 
In the soft tide of the lagoons, — 
And lo, the blade itself doth lift 
A score of quivering crescent moons. 
And as they flash I seem to see 
Each droplet with a small moon flee. 
I 8i F 


The huge white icebergs silently 
Voyage with us through this lonely sea. 
Noiseless and lifeless, yet they seem 
Like haunted islands in a dream 
Holding strange secrets that no one 
May know and live. In the bright sun 
They shine immeasurably fair. 
Bluer than bluest summer air, 
Or clear to the very heart with green 
Pure light, or amethyst as seen 
'Mid sunset-clouds — ^but now they shine 
With a cold gleam and have no sign 
Of loveliness. The ship swings on. 
Plunging 'mid surging seas whereon 
Few vessels ever sail, and as 
Slowly the long hours come and pass 
The late moon rises cold and white, 
And sends a flood of wintry light 
Along the sweeping waves and round 
Our black and sea-worn hull. A sound 
Far off dies while it grows — some seal 
Long-drifted, frozen, waking but to feel 
Death's grip. And now the spectral isles 

Moonrise on the Antarctic 

Grow whiter, icier still, and seem 
More hollow, with a strange weird gleam 
As though some pale unreal fires 
Consumed them to their utmost spires 
Yet without flame or heat. And still 
The moon doth rise, and seems to fill 
Each berg anew with life : we sail 
Upon a strange sad sea, where pale 
And moonshine isles float all around, 
Voyaging onward without sound. 



(Frqm " The Human Inheritance " 
AND !' Earth's Voices") 



Against the dim hot summer blue 
Yon wave of white wild-roses lies, 
Watching with listless golden eyes 

The green leaves shutting out their view, 
The tiny leaves whose motions bright 
Are like small wings of emerald light : 

White butterflies like snow-flakes fall 
And brown bees drone their honey-call. 


A long low gurgle down the strand, 
The sputtering of the drying wrack ! 
The tide is slowly ebbing back 

With listless murmuring from the land. 
And the small waves reluctant flow 
Where the broad-bosomed currents go. 

The sea has fall'n asleep, and lies 
Dense blue beneath the dense blue skies. 


The furtive lights that herald dawn 

Are shimmering 'mid the steel-blue firs ; 
A slow awakening wind half stirs 

And the long branches breathe upon ; 
The east grows clearer — clearer — lo. 
The day is born ! A refluent flow 

Of silver waves along each tree 
For one brief moment dazzlingly. 


{Towards evening) 

The slow heave of the sleeping sea 

With pulse-like motion swells and falls, 
And drowsily a stray gull calls 

The very wail of melancholy ; 

All day the moveless mist has slept 
On the same bosom east winds swept : 

No breath of change in the grey mist, 
Save just a dream of amethyst. 


Aslant from yonder sunlit hill 
The lance-like sunrays stream across 
The meadows where the king-cups toss 

r the wind, and where the beech-leaves thrill 
With flooding light they twist and turn 
And seem to interlace and burn, 

Until at last in tangle spun 

'Mid the damp grass their race is run. 


The bleak and barren mountains keep 
A never-ending gloom around 
The lonely loch ; the winds resound. 

The rains beat down, the tempests sweep, 
The days are calm and dark and stiU, — 
No other changes Coruisk fill. 

Scarce living sound is heard, save high 
The eagle's scream or wild swan's cry. 



The pale tints of the twihght fields 
Have turned into burnished gold, 
For waves of yellow light have rolled 

From the open'd east across the wealds ; 
While 'mid the wheat spires far behind 
Stirs lazily the awaken'd wind. 

A skylark high (a song-made bird) 
Sings as though God his singing heard. 


The sea scarce heaves in its calm sleep, 
The wind has not awakened yet 
Tho' in its dreams it seems to fret ; 

For, ever and again, the deep 
Hearkens a sigh that steals along 
As might some echo of sad song : 

Ah, there the wind stirs ! Lo, the dark 
Dim sea's on fire around our barque. 


Between the salt sea -send before 
g^And all the flowing gulfs behind, 

Half lifted by the rising wind, 
Half eager for the ungain'd shore, 
A great green wave of shining light 
Sweeps onward crowned with dazzling 
white : 

Above, the east wind shreds the sky 

With plumes from the grey clouds that fly.. 


The air is blue and keen and cold. 

With snow the roads and fields are white ; 

But here the forest's clothed with light 
And in a shining sheath enrolled. 

Each branch, each twig, each blade of 

Seems clad miraculously with glass : 

Above the ice-bound streamlet bends 
Each frozen fern with crystal ends. 


Where the ripe pears droop heavily 
The yellow wasp hums loud and long 
His hot and drowsy autumn song : 

A yellow flame he seems to be, 
When darting suddenly from high 
He lights where fallen peaches lie : 

Yellow and black, this tiny thing's 
A tiger-soul on elfin wings. 


Deep black against the dying glow 
The tall elms stand ; the rooks are still ; 
No windbreath makes the faintest thrill 

Amongst the leaves ; the fields below 
Are vague and dim in twilight shades — 
Only the bats wheel in their raids 

On the grey flies, and silently 
Great dusky moths go flitting by. 


The wintry wolds are white ; the wind 
Seems frozen ; in the shelter'd nooks 
The sparrows shiver ; the black rooks 

Wheel homeward where the elms behind 
The manor stand ; at the field's edge 
The redbreasts in the blackthorn hedge 

Sit close and under snowy eaves 

The shrewmice sleep 'mid nested leaves. 


The lofty elm-trees darkly dream 
Against the steel-blue sky ; till far 
I' the twilit east a golden star 

O'erbrims the dusk'in one vast stream 
Of yellow light, and lo ! a cry 
Breaks from the windy nest — ^the sky 

Is filled with wheeling rooks — ^they sway 
In one black phalanx towards the day. 


The first snows of the year lie white 
Upon the branches bending low ; 
A surging wind the flakes doth blow 

Before the coming feet of Night — ■ 
Half dusk, half day, betwixt the pines 
Green -yellow the full moon rechnes : 

Green-yellow, and now wholly green. 
While faint the windy stars are seen. 


Softly sailing emerald lights 

Above the cornfields come and go. 
Listlessly wandering to and fro : 

The magic of these July nights 
Has surely even pierced down deep 
Where the earth's jewels unharmed sleep. 

And filled with fire the emeralds there 
And raised them thus to the outer air. 


As though the Power that made the nautilus 

A hving glory o'er seas perilous 

Scathless to roam, had from the utmost 


Called a vast flawless pearl from out its sleep 

And carv'd it crescent-wise, exceeding 

fair, — 
So seems the crescent moon that thro' the 

With motionless motion glides from out the 

And sailing onward ever seems at rest. 


Between two mighty hills a sheer 
Abyss — ^far down in the ravine 
A thread-like torrent and a screen 

Of oaks like shrubs — ^and one doth rear 
A dry scarp'd peak above all sound 
Save windy voices wailing round : 

At sunrise here, in proud disdain 
The eagle scans his vast domain. 


{Returning from Torcelld) 

In violet hues each dome and spire 
Stands outlined against flawless rose ; 
O'er this a carmine ocean flows 

Streak'd with pure gold and amber fire, 
And through the sea of sundown mist 
Float isles of melted amethyst : 

Storm-portents, saffron streamers rise, 
Fan-like, from Venice to the skies. 


The yellow waste of yellow sands. 
The bronze haze of a scorching sky ! 
Lo, what are these that broken lie ; 

Were these once temples made with hands ? 
Once towers and palaces that knew 
No hint of that which one day threw 

Their greatness to the winds — made this 
The memory of Persepolis ? 



I see him sit, wild-eyed, alone, 
Amidst gaunt, spectral, moonlit gums — 
He waits for death : not once a moan 
From out his rigid fixt lips comes ; 
His lank hair falls adown a face 
Haggard as any wave-worn stone. 
And in his eyes I dimly trace 
The memory of a vanished race. 

The lofty ancient gum-trees stand. 
Each grey and ghostly in the moon, 
The giants of an old strange land 
That was exultant in its noon 
When all our Europe was o'erturned 
With deluge and with shifting sand. 
With earthquakes that the hills inurned 
And central fires that fused and burned. 

The moon moves slowly through the vast 
And solemn skies ; the night is still. 
Save when a warrigal springs past 
With dismal howl, or when the shrill 

The last Aboriginal 

Scream of a parrot rings which feels 
A twining serpent's fangs fixt fast, 
Or when a grey opossum squeals, 
Or long iguana, as it steals 

From bole to bole disturbs the leaves : 
But hush'd and still he sits — ^who knows 
That all is o'er for him who weaves 
With inner speech, malign, morose, 
A curse upon the whites who came 
And gather'd up his race like sheaves 
Of thin wheat, fit but for the flame — 
Who shot or spurned them without shame. 

He knows he shaU not see again 
The creeks whereby the lyre-birds sing — 
He shall no more upon the plain, 
Sun scorch'd, and void of water-spring. 
Watch the dark cassowaries sweep 
In startled flight, or, with spear lain 
In ready poise, gUde, twist, and creep 
Where the brown kangaroo doth leap. 

No more in silent dawns he'll wait 

By still lagoons, and mark the flight 

Of black swans near : no more elate 

Whirl high the boomerang aright 

Upon some foe : he knows that now 

He too must share his race's night — 

He scarce can know the white man's plough 

Will one day pass above his brow. 


The last Aboriginal 

Last remnant of the Austral race 

He sits and stares, with failing breath : 

The shadow deepens on his face, 

For 'midst the spectral gums waits death. 

A dingo's sudden howl swells near — 

He stares once with a startled gaze, 

As half in wonder, half in fear, 

Then sinks back on his unknown bier. 




Deep in the forest-depths the tribe 
A mighty blazing fire have made : 
Round this they spring with frantic yells 
In hideous pigments all arrayed — 

One barred with yellow ochre, one 
A skeleton in startling white, 
There one who dances furiously 
Blood-red against the great fire's light, — 

With death's insignia on his breast. 
In rude design, the swart chief springs ; 
And loud and long each echoes back 
The savage war-cry that he sings. 

Within the forest dark and dim 
The startled cockatoos like ghosts 
Flit to and fro, the mopokes scream. 
And parrots rise in chattering hosts ; 


The Corohhoree 

The gins and lubras crouch and watch 
With eager shining brute-Uke eyes. 
And ever and again shrill back 
Wild echoes of the frantic cries : — 

Like some infernal scene it is — 
The forest dark, the blazing fire, 
The ghostly birds, the dancing fiends. 
Whose savage chant swells ever higher. 

Afar away gaunt wild-dogs howl, 
And strange cries vaguely call : but white 
The placid moon sails on, and flame 
The silent stars above the night. 



{Uncivilised and CiviHsed) 

Ling-Tso Ah Sin, on Murderer's Flat 
One morning caught an old grey rat : 
" Ah, white man, I have got you now ! 
But no — dust be upon my brow 
If needless blood I cause to fall — 
So go, there's world-room for us all ! " 

That night Ah^SinTwas somehow shot — 
By accident I For he had got 
From earth a little gold — ^black sin 
For thee, though not for us, Ah Sin ! 

Murderer's Flat, February 1878. 


{Australian Forest) 

A lyre-bird sings a low melodious song — 
Then all is stUl : a soft wind breathes along 
The lofty gums and faintly dies away : 
And Silence wakes and knows her dream is 





The short sweet purple twilight dreams 
Of vanish'd day, of coming night ; 
And like gold moons in the soft light 
Each scented drooping orange gleams 
From out the glossy leaves black-green 
That make through noon a cool dark gcreen. 
The dusk is silence, save the thrill 
That stirs it from cicalas shrill. 


The long lagoons lie white and still 
Beneath the great round Austral moon : 
The sudden dawn will waken soon 
With many a delicious thrill : 
Between this death and life the cries 
Of black swans ri^g through silent skies- 
And the long wash of the slow stream 
Moves as in sleep some bodeful dream. 



A sky of whirling flakes of foam, 
A rushing world of dazzling blue: 
One moment, the sky looms in view — • 
The next, a crash in its curved dome, 
A tumult indescribable, 
And eyes dazed with the miracle. 
Here breaks by circling day and night 
In thunder the sea's boundless might. 


(S.E. Victoria) 

O'er sandy tracts the shea-oak trees 
Droop their long wavy grey-green trails : 
And inland wandering moans and wails 
The long blast of the ocean-breeze : 
Like loose strings of a viol or harp 
These answering sound — ^now low, now sharp 
And keen, a melancholy strain : 
A death song o'er the mournful plain. 


Upon a fibry fern-tree bough 

A huge iguana lies alow. 

Bright yellow in the noonday glow 

With bars of black, — ^it watcheth now 

A gorgeous insect hover high 

Till suddenly its lance doth fly 

And catch the prey — ^but still no sound 
Breathes 'mid the green fern-spaces round. 



The feathery fern-trees make a screen 
Where through the sunglare cannot pass- 
Fern, gum, and lofty sassafras : 
The fronds sweep over, palely green. 
And underneath are orchids curl'd 
Adream through this cool shadow-world 
A fragrant greenness — ^like the noon 
Of lime-tree in an English June. 


{N.E. Victoria) 

Across the boulder'd majesty 
Of the great hills the passing day 
Drifts like a wind-borne cloud away 
Far off beyond the western sky : 
And while a purple glory spreads, 
With straits of gold and brilliant reds, 
An azure veil, translucent, strange, 
Dreamlike steals over each dim range. 


{New South Wales — Moonlight) 

The eucalyptus-blooms are sweet 

With honey, and the birds all day 

Sip the clear juices forth : brown-grey, 

A bird-like thing with tiny feet 

Cleaves to the boughs, or with small wings 

Amidst the leafy spaces springs. 

And in the moonshine with shrill cries 
Flits batlike where the white gums rise, 


The stillness of the Austral noon 
Is broken by no single sound — 
No lizards even on the ground 
Rustle amongst dry leaves — no tune 
The lyre-bird sings — ^yet hush ! I hear 
A soft bell tolling, silvery clear ! 
Low soft aerial chimes, unknown 
Save 'mid these silences alone. 



The lightning-stricken giant gum 
Stands leafless, dead — ^a giant still 
But heedless of this sunrise-thrill : 
What stir is this where all was dumb ? — 
What seem like old dead leaves break swift. 
And lo, a hundred wings uplift 
A cloud of birds that to and fro 
Dart joyous midst the sunrise-glow. 

• The wood-swallows of Australia have the singular 
habit of clustering like bees or b£^ts on the boughs of 
a dead tree. 



{New South Wales) 

The amber-tinted level sands 
Unbroken stretch for leagues away 
Beyond these granite slabs, dull grey 
And lifeless, herbless — save where stands 
The mighty rock-flow'r towering high, 
With carmine blooms crowned gloriously : 
A giant amongst flowers it reigns, 
The glory of these Austral plains. 


{New South Wales) 

For miles the Illawarra range 
Runs level with Pacific seas : 
What glory when the morning breeze 
Upon its slopes doth shift and change 
Deep pink and crimson hues, till all 
The leagues-long distance seems a wall 
Of swift uncurling flames of fire 
That wander not nor reach up higher. 






The wild wind moaned : fast waned the 

light : 
Dense cloud-wrack gloomed the front of 
night : 
The moorland cries were cries of pain : 
Green, red, or broad and glaring white 
The lightnings flashed athwart the main. 

The sound and fury of the waves, 
Upon the rocks, among the caves, 

Boomed inland from the thunderous 
strand : 
Mayhap the dead heard in their graves 

The tumult fill the hollow land. 

With savage pebbly rush and roar 
The billows swept the echoing shore 

In clouds of spume and swirling spray : 
The wild wings of the tempest bore 

The salt rheum to the Haunted Brae. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Upon the Haunted Brae (where none 
Would linger in the noontide sun) 

Michael the Wizard rode apace : 
Wildly he rode where all men shun. 

With madness gleaming on his face. 

Loud, loud he laugh'd whene'er he saw 
The lightnings split on Lammer-Law, 

" Blood, bride, and bier the auld rune saith 
Hell's wind tae me ae nicht sail Maw, 

The nicht I ride unto my death J " 

Across the Haunted Brae he fled. 

And mock'd and jeer'd the shuddering pead ; 

Wan white the horse that he bestrode. 
The fire-flaughts stricken as it sped 

Flashed thro' the black mirk of the road. 

And even as his race he ran, 

A shade pursued the fleeing man, 

A white and ghastly shade it was ; 
" Like saut sea-spray across wet san' 

Or wind abune the moonlit grass ! — 

" Like saut sea -spray it follows me. 
Or wind o'er grass — so fast's I flee : 

In vain I shout, and laugh, and call — 
The thing betwixt me and the sea 

God kens it is my ain lost saul ! " 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Down, down the Haunted Brae, and past 
The verge of precipices vast 

And eyries where the eagles screech ; 
By great pines swaying in the blast, 

Through woods of moaning larch and 
beech ; 

On, on by moorland glen and stream. 
Past lonely lochs where ospreys scream, 

Past marsh-lands where no sound is 
The rider and his white horse gleam, 

And, aye behind, that dreadful third. 

Wild and more wild the wild wind blew. 
But Michael Scott the rein ne'er drew : 

Loud and more loud his laughter shrill. 
His wild and mocking laughter, grew. 

In dreadful cries 'twixt hill and hill. 

At last the great high road he gained. 
And now with whip and voice he strained 

To. swifter flight the gleaming mare ; 
Afar ahead the fierce sleet rained 

Upon the ruin'd House of Stair. 

Then Michael Scott laughed long and loud : 
" Whan shone the mune ahint yon cloud 

I kent the Towers that saw my birth — 
Lang, lang, sail wait my cauld grey shroud, 

Lang cauld and weet my bed o' earth ! " 

Th^ Weird of Michael Scott 

But as by Stair he rode full speed 
His horse began to pant and bleed : 

" Win hame, win hame, my bonnie mare, 
Win hame if thou would'st rest and feed, 

Win hame, we're nigh the House of Stair ! " 

But with a shrill heart -bursten yell 

The white horse stumbled, plunged, and felt, 

And loud a summoning voice arose, 
"Is't White-Horse Death that rides frae 

Or Michael Scott that hereby goes ? " 

" Ah, Lord of Stair, I ken ye weel ! 
Avaunt, or I your saul sail steal. 

An' send ye howling through the wood 
A wild man-wolf — aye, ye maun reel 

An' cry upon your Holy Rood ! " 

Swift swept the sword within the shade, 
Swift was the flash the blue steel made, 

Swift was the downward stroke and rash — 
But, as though leven-struck, the blade 

Fell splintered earthward with a crash. 

With frantic eyes Lord Stair out-peered 
When Michael Scott laughed loud and 
jeered : — 
" Forth fare ye now, ye'vegat lang room ! 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Ah, by my saul thou'lt dree thy weird ! 
Begone, were-wolf, till the day o' doom ! " 

A shrill scream pierced the lonely place ; 
A dreadful change came o'er the face ; 

The head, with bristled hair, swung low ; 
Michael the Wizard turned and fled 

And laughed a mocking laugh of woe. 

And through the wood there stole and crept. 
And through the wood there raced and leapt, 

A thing in semblance of a man ; 
An awful look its wild eyes kept 

As howling through the night it ran. 

Part II 

Athwart the wan bleak moonlit waste, 
With staring eyes, in frantic haste. 
With thin locks back-blown by the wind, 
A grey gaunt haggard figure raced 
And moaned the thing that sped behind. 

It followed him, afar or near : 
In wrath he curs'd ; he shrieked in fear ; 
But ever more it followed him : 
Eftsoons he'd stop, and turn, and peer 
To front the following phantom grim. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Naught would he see ; in vain would list 
For wing-like sound or feet that hissed 
Like wind-blown snow upon the ice ; 
The grey thing vanished like a mist, 
Or like the smoke of sacrifice : 

" Come forth frae out the mirk," his cry, 
" For I maun live or I maun die, 
But na, nae mair I'll suffer baith ! " 
Then, with a shriek, would onward fly 
And, swift behind, his following wraith. 

Michael the Wizard sped across 
The peat and bracken o' the moss : 
He heard the muir-wind rise and fall, 
And laughed to see the birk -boughs toss 
An' the stealthy shadows leap or crawl. 

When white St. Monan's Water streamed 
For leagues athwart the muir, and gleamed 
With phosphorescent marish-fires, 
With wild and sudden joy he screamed. 
For scarce a mile was Kevan-Byres — 

Sweet Kevan-Byres, dear Kevan-Byres, 
That oft of old was thronged with squires 
And joyous damsels blithe and gay : 
Alas, alas for Kevan-Byres 
That now is cold and grey. 


The Weird of Michael Scott 

There in bed on linen sheet 
With white soft limbs and love-dreams sweet 
Fair Margaret o' the Byres would be : 
(Ah, when he'd lain and kissed her feet 
Had she not laughed in mockery !) 

Aye she had laughed, for what reck'd she 

O' a' the powers of Wizardie ! 

" Win up, win up, guid Michael Scott, 

For ye sail ne'er win boon o' me. 

By plea, or sword, or spell, God wot ! " 

Aye, these the words that she had said : 
These were the words that as he fled 
Michael the Wizard muttered o'er — 
" My Margaret, bow your bonnie head. 
For ye sail never flout me more ! " 

Swiftly he raced, with gleaming eyes, 
And wild, strange, sobbing, panting cries, 
Dire, dire, and fell his frantic mood ; 
Until he gained St. Monan's Rise 
Whereon the House of Kevan stood. 

There looked he long and fixed his gaze 
Upon a room where in past days 
His very soul had pled love's boon : 
Lit was it now with the wan rays 
Flick -flickering from the cloud-girt moon. 


The Weird of Michael Scott 

"Come forth, May Margaret, come, my 

heart ! 
For thou and I nae mair sail part^ — 
Come forth, I bid, though Christ himsel' 
My bitter love should strive to thwart, 
For I have a' the powers o' hell ! " 

What was the white wan thing that came 
And lean'd from out the window-frame, 
And waved wild arms against the sky ? 
What was the hollow echoing name, 
What was the thin despairing cry ? 

Adown the long and dusky stair, 

And through the courtyard bleak and bare, 

And past the gate, and out upon 

The whistling, moaning, midnight air — 

What is't that Michael Scott has won ! 

Across the moat it seems to flee. 
It speeds across the windy lea, 
And through the ruin'd abbey-arch ; 
Now like a mist all waveringly 
It stands beneath a lonely larch. 

" Come Margaret, my Margaret, 
Thou see'st my vows I ne'er forget : 
Come win wi' me across the waste — 
Lang lang I've wandered cauld and wet, 
An' now thy sweet warm lips would taste ! " 


The Weird of Michael Scott 

But as a whirling drift of snow, 

Or flying foam the sea -winds blow, 

Or smoke swept thin before a gale 

It fiew across the waste — and oh 

'Twas Margaret's voice in that long wail ! 

Swift as the hound upon the deer. 
Swift as the stag when nigh the mere, 
Michael the Wizard followed fast — 
What though May Margaret fled in fear, 
She should be his, be his, at last ! — 

O'er broom and whin and bracken high, 
Where the peat bog lay gloomily. 
Where sullenly the bittern boomed 
And startled curlews swept the sky. 
Until St. Monan's Water loomed ! 

" The cauld wet water sail na be 

The bride-bed for my love and me — : 

For now upon St. Monan's shore 

May Margaret her love sail gie 

To him she mocked and jeered of yore ! " 

Was that a heron in its flight ? 
Was that a mere-mist wan and white ? 
What thing from lonely kirkyard grave ? 
Forlorn it trails athwart the night 
With arms that writhe and wring and wave ! 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Deep down within the mere it sank, 
Among the slimy reeds and rank, 
And all the leagues-long loch was bare — 
One vast, grey, moonlit, lifeless blank 
Beneath a silent waste of air. 

" O God, O God ! her soul it is ! 
Christ's saved her frae my blasting kiss ! 
Her soul frae out her body drawn, 
The body I maun have for bliss ! 
body dead and spirit gaun ! " 

Hours long o'er Monan's wave he stared ; 
The fire-flaughts flashed and gleamed and 

The death-lights o' the lonely place : 
And aye, dead still, he watch'd, till flared 
The sunrise on his haggard face. 

Full well he knew that with its fires 
Loud was the tumult 'mong the squires. 
And fierce the bitter pain of all 
Where stark and stift in Kevan-Byres 
May Margaret lay beneath her pall. 

Then once he laughed, and twice, and thrice. 
Though deep within his hollow eyes 
Dull-gleamed a light of fell despair. 
Around, Earth grew a Paradise 
In the sweet golden morning air. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Slowly he rose at last, and swift 
One gaunt and frantic arm did lift 
And curs'd God in his heav'n o'erhead 
Then, like a lonely cloud adrift. 
Far from St. Monan's wave he fled. 

Part III 

All day the curlew wailed and screamed, 
All day the cushat crooned and dreamed, 
All day the sweet muir-wind blew free : 
Beyond the grassy knowes far gleamed 
The splendour of the singing sea. 

Above the myriad gorse and broom 
And miles of golden kingcup-bloom 
The larks and yellowhammers sang : 
Where the scaur cast an hour-long 

The lintie's liquid notes out -rang. 

Oft as he wandered to and fro^ 
As idly as the foam-bells flow 
Hither and thither on the deep — 
Michael the Wizard's face would grow 
From death to life, and he would 
weep — 


The Weird of Michael Scott 

Weep, weep wild tears of bitter pain 
For what might never be again : 
Yet even as he wept his face 
Would gleam with mockery insane 
And with fierce laughter on he'd race. 

At times he watched the white clouds sail 
Across the wastes of azure pale ; 
Or oft would haunt some moorland pool 
Fringed round with thyme and fragrant gale 
And canna-tufts of snow-white wool. 

Long in its depths would Michael stare, 
As though some secret thing lay there : 
Mayhap the moving water made 
A gloom where crouched a Kelpie fair 
With death-eyes gleaming through the shade. 

Then on with weary listless feet 

He fared afar, until the sweet 

Cool sound of mountain brooks drew nigh, 

And loud he heard the strayed lambs bleat 

And the white ewes responsive cry. 

High up among the hills full clear 
He heard the belling of the deer 
Amid the corries where they browsed. 
And, where the peaks rose gaunt and sheer. 
Fierce swirling echoes eagle-roused. 


The Weird of Michael Scott 

He watched the kestrel wheel and sweep, 
He watched the dun fox glide and creep, 
He heard the whaup's long-echoing call. 
Watched in the stream the brown trout leap 
And the grilse spring the waterfall. 

Along the slopes the grouse-cock whirred ; 
The grey -blue heron scarcely stirred 
Amid the mossed grey tarn-side stones : 
The burns gurg-gurgled through the yird 
Their sweet clear bubbling undertones. 

Above the tarn the dragon-fly 

Shot like a flashing arrow by ; 

And in a moving shifting haze 

The gnat-clouds sank or soared on high 

And danced their wild aerial maze. 

As the day waned he heard afar 
The hawking fern-owl's dissonant jar 
Disturb the silence of the hill : 
The gloaming came : star after star 
He watched the skiey spaces fill. 

But as the darkness grew and made 
Forest and mountain one vast shade, 
Michael the Wizard moaned in dread — 
A long white moonbeam like a blade 
Swept after him where'er he fled. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Swiftly he leapt o'er rock and root, 
Swift o'er the fern his flying foot, 
But swifter still the white moonbeam : 
Wild was the grey-owl's dismal hoot, 
But wilder still his maniac scream. 

Once in his flight he paused to hear 
A hollow shriek that echoed near : — 
The louder were his dreadful cries, 
The louder rang adown the sheer 
Gaunt cliffs the echoing replies. 

As though a hunted wolf, he raced 
To the lone woods across the waste 
Steep granite slopes of Crammond-Low- 
The haunted forest where none faced 
The terror that no man might know. 

Betwixt the mountains and the sea 
Dark leagues of pine stood solemnly, 
Voiceful with grim and hollow song. 
Save when each tempest -stricken tree 
A savage tumult would prolong. 

Beneath the dark funereal plumes. 
Slow waving to and fro — death-blooms 
Within the void dim wood of death — 
Oft shuddering at the fearful glooms 
Sped Michael Scott with faihng breath. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

Once, as he passed a dreary place, 
Between two trees he saw a face — 
A white face staring at his own : 
A weird strange cry he gave for grace, 
And heard an echoing moan. 

" Whate'er ye be, thing that bides 
Among the trees — O thing that hides 
In yonder moving mass o' shade 
Come forth tae me ! " — wan Michael glides 
Swift, as he speaks, athrough the glade : 

" Whate'er ye be, I fear ye nought ! 
Michael the Wizard has na fought 
Wi' men and demons year by year 
To shirk ae thing he has na sought 
Or blanch wi' any mortal fear ! " 

But not a sound thrilled thro' the air-7- 
Not even a she-fox in her lair 
Or brooding bird made any stir — 
All was as still and blank and bare 
As is a vaulted sepulchre. 

Then awe, and fear, and wild dismay 
O'ercame mad Michael, ashy grey, 
With eyes as of one newly dead : 
" If wi' my sword I canna slay, 
Ye'U dree my weird when it is said ! " 
I 129 I 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

" Whate'er ye be, man, beast, or sprite, 
I wind ye round wi' a sheet o' light — 
Aye, round and round your burning frame 
I cast by spell o' wizard might 
A fierce undying sheet of flame ! " 

Swift as he spoke a thing sprang out, 

A man-like thing, all hemmed about 

With blazing blasting burning fire ! 

The wind swoop'd wi' a demon-shout 

And whirled the red flame higher and higher ! 

And as, appalled, wan Michael stood 
The flying flaughts swift fired the wood ; 
And even as he shook and stared 
The gaunt pines turned the hue of blood 
And all the waving branches flared. 

Then with wild leaps the accursM thing 
Drew nigh and nigher : with a spring 
Michael escaped its fiery clasp, 
Although he felt the fierce flame sting 
And all the horror of its grasp. 

Swift as an arrow far he fled, 
But swifter still the flames o'erhead 
Rushed o'er the waving sea of pines, 
And hollow noises crashed and sped 
Like splitting blasts in ruin'd mines. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

A burning league — leagues, leagues of fire 

Arose behind, and ever higher 

The flying semi-circle came : 

And aye beyond this dreadful pyre 

There leapt a man-like thing in flame. 

With awful scream doom'd Michael saw 
The flying furnace reach Black-Law : 
" Blood, bride, and bier, the auld rune saith 
HeWs wind tae me ae nicht sail hlaw. 
The nicht I iride unto my death ! " 

" The blood of Stair is round me now : 
My bride can laugh to scorn my vow : 
My bier, my bier, ah sail it be 
Wi' a crown o' fire around my brow 
Or deep within the cauld saut sea ! " 

Like lightning, over Black-Law's slope 
Michael fled swift with sudden hope : 
What though the forest roared behind — 
He yet might gain the cliff and grope 
For where the sheep -paths twist and wind. 

The air was like a furnace-blast 
And all the dome of heaven one vast 
Expanse of flame and fiery wings : 
To the cliff's edge, ere all be past, 
With shriek on shriek lost Michael springs. 

The Weird of Michael Scott 

But none can hear his bitter call, 
None, none can see him sway and fall — 
Yea, one there is that shrills his name ! 
" God, it is my ain lost saul 
That I hae girt wi' deathless flame ! " 

With waving arms and dreadful cries 
He cowers beneath those glaring eyes — 
But all in vain — in vain — in vain ! 
His own soul clasps him as its prize 
And scorches death upon his brain. 

Body and soul together swing 
Adown the night until they fling 
The hissing sea-spray far and wide : 
At morn the fresh sea-wind will bring 
A black corpse tossing on the tide. 



In the dead of the night a spirit came : 
Her moon-white face and her eyes of flame 
Were known to me : — I called her name — 
The name that shall not be spoken at all 
Till Death hath this body of mine in thrall ! 

And she laughed to see me lying there, 
Wrapped in the living-corpse bloody and fair, 
And my soul 'mid its thin films shining bare — 
And I rose and followed her glance so 

And passed from the house with noiseless 

I know not myself what I knew, what I saw ! 

I know that it filled me with trouble and awe, 

With pain that still at my heart doth gnaw : 

That she with her wild eyes witched my 

And whispered the name of the Unknown 


The Twin-Soul 

O, wild was her laugh, and wild was my cry 
When with one long flash and a weary sigh 
I awoke as from sleep bewilderingly : 

Her voice, her eyes, they are with me still, 
O Spirit-Enchantress, O Demon-Will ! 



There is an isle beyond our ken, 
Haunted by Dreams of weary men. 
Grey Hopes enshadow it with wings 
Weary with burdens of old things : 
There the insatiate water-springs 
Rise with the tears of all who weep : 
And deep within it, deep, oh deep 
The furtive voice of Sorrow sings. 

There evermore, 

Till Time be o'er, 
Sad, oh so sad, the Dreams of men 
Drift through the isle beyond our ken. 



She sits beneath the elder-tree 

And sings her song so sweet, 
And dreams o'er the burn that darksomely 

Runs by her moon-white feet. 

Her hair is dark as starless night, 
Her flower-crown'd face is pale, 

But oh, her eyes are lit with light 
Of dread ancestral bale. 

She sings. an eerie song, so wild 

With immemorial dule — 
Though young and fair Death's mortal child 

That sits by that dark pool. 

And oft she cries an eldritch scream 

When red with human blood 
The burn becomes a crimson stream, 

A wild, red, surging flood : 

Or shrinks, when some swift tide of tears — 

The weeping of the world — 
Dark eddying 'neath man's phantom-fears, 

Is o'er the red stream hurl'd. 

The Death-Child 

For hours beneath the elder-tree 
She broods beside the stream ; 

Her dark eyes filled with mystery, 
Her dark soul rapt in dream. 

The lapsing flow she heedeth not 
Though deepest depths she scans : 

Life is the shade that clouds her thought, 
As Death's the eclipse of man's. 

Time seems but as a bitter thing 

Remember'd from of yore : 
Yet ah (she thinks) her song she'll sing 

When Time's long reign is o'er. 

Erstwhiles she bends alow to hear 

What the swift water sings, 
The torrent running darkly clear 

With secrets of all things. 

And then she smiles a strange sad smile, 

And lets her harp lie long ; 
The death-waves oft may rise the while. 

She greets them with no song. 

Few ever cross that dreary moor, 
Few see that flower-crown'd head ; 

But whoso knows that wild song's lure 
Knoweth that he is dead. 


The moon-white waters wash and leap, 
The dark tide floods the Coves of Crail 

Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep. 
Nor hears the sea-wind wail. 

The pale gold of his oozy locks, 

Doth hither drift and thither wave ; 

His thin hands plash against the rocks. 
His white lips nothing crave. 

Afar away she laughs and sings — 
A song he loved, a wild sea-strain — 

Of how the mermen weave their rings 
Upon the reef -set main. 

Sound, sound he lies in dreamless sleep. 
Nor hears the sea-wind wail, 

Tho' with the tide his white hands creep 
Amid the Coves of Crail. 





Supra un munti sparman stu bellu ciuri I 
Chjstu e lu ciuri di la to billizza 

Sicilian Canzuno. 

In a grove of ilex 
Of oak and of chestnut. 
Far on the sunswept 
Heights of Tusculum, 
There groweth a blossom, 
A snow-white bloom, 
Which many have heard of, 
But few have seen. 
Oft bright as the morning. 
Oft pale as moonlight, 
There in the greenness, 
In shadow and sunshine 
It grows, awaiting 
The hand that shall pluck it : 
For this blossom springeth 
From the heart of a poet 
And of her who loved him 
In the long ago. 
Here on the sunswept 


Heights of Tusculum. 

And them it awaiteth, 

Deep lovers only, 

Kindred of those 

Who loved and passioned 

There, and whose heart 's-blood 

Wrought from the Earth 

This marvellous blossom, 

The Shadow-Lily, 

The Flower of Dream. 

Few that shall see it, 

Fewer still 

Those that shall pluck it : 

But whoso gathers 

That snow-white blossom 

Shall love for ever, 

For the passionate breath 

Of the Shadow-Lily 

Is Deathless Joy : 

And whoso plucks it, keeps it, treasures it, 

Has sunshine ever 

About the heart, 

Deep in the heart immorta:l sunshine : 

For this is the gift of the snow-white 

This is the gift of the Flower of Dream. 



Breath o' the grass, 
Ripple of wandering wind, 
Murmur of tremulous leaves : 
A moonbeam moving white 
Like a ghost across the plain : 
A shadow on the road : 
And high up, high, 
From the cypress-bough, 
A long sweet melancholy note. 

And the topmost spray 
Of the cypress-bough is still 
As a wavelet in a pool : 
The road lies duskily bare : 
The plain is a misty gloom : 
Still are the tremulous leaves ; 
Scarce a last ripple of wind. 
Scarce a breath i' the grass. 
Hush : the tired wind sleeps : 
Is it the wind's breath, or 
Breath o' the grass. 



High noon, 

And from the purple-veiled hills 

To where Rome lies in azure mist, 

Scarce any breath of wind 

Upon this vast and solitary waste, 

These leagues of sunscorch'd grass 

Where i' the dawn the scrambling goats 

A hardy feast. 

And where, when the warm yellow moon- 
light floods the fiats, 
Gaunt laggard sheep browse spectrally for 

While not less gaunt and spectral shepherds 

Brooding, or with hollow vacant eyes 
Stare down the long perspectives of the 

Now not a breath : 
No sound ; 


High Noon at Midsummer on the Campagna 

No living thing, 

Save where the beetle jars his crackling 

Or where the hoarse cicala fills 
The heavy heated hour with palpitant whirr. 
Yet hark ! 
Comes not a low deep whisper from the 

A sigh as though the immemorial past 
Breathed here a long, slow, breath ? 
Hush'd nations sleep below ; lost empires 

Are dust ; and deeper still. 
Dim shadowy peoples are the mould that 

The roots of every flower that blooms and 

blows : 
Even as we, too, bloom and fade, 
Who are so fain 

To be as the Night that dies not, but forever 
Weaves her immortal web of starry fires ; 
To be as Time itself, 
Time, whose vast holocausts 
Lie here, deep buried from the ken of men. 
Here, where no breath of wind 
Ruffles the brooding heat. 
The breathless blazing heat 
Of Noon. 

I 145 K 


Not where thy turbid wave 

Flowing Maremma-ward, 

Moves heavily, Tiber, 

Through Rome the Eternal, 

Not there her music, not there her joy is : 

But where on Janiculum 

The tall pines 

Sing their high song, with deeper therein, 

like an echo 
Heard in a mountain-hollow where cataracts 

A sound as of surge and of foaming : 
Yes, there where the echoing pines 
Whisper to high wandering winds 
The rush and the surge and the splendour 
Where the Acqua Paola thunders 
Into its fount gigantic, 
With noise like a tempest cleaving 
With mighty wings 
The norland forests. 


The Fountain of the Acqua Paola 

From dayspring, yellow and green 
And grey as a swan's breastfeather, 
To sunset 's amber and gold 
And the white star of dusk, 
And through the moon-white hours 
Till only Hesperus hangs 
His quivering tremulous disc 
O'er the faint -flushed forehead of Dawn- 
All hours, all days, forever 
Surgeth the singing flood. 
With chant and paean glorious, 
With foam and splash and splendour, 
A music wild, barbaric. 
That calleth loud over Rome, 
Laughing, mocking, rejoicing : 
The sound of the waves when Ocean 
Laughs at the vanishing land 
And, fronting her shoreless leagues, 
Remembers the ruined empires 
That now are the drift and shingle 
In cavernous hollows under 
Her zone of Oblivion, 
Silence that nought shall break, 
Eternal calm. 

Foam, spray and splendour 
Of rushing waters. 
Grey-blue as the pale blue domie 
That circleth the morning star 

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola 

While still his fires are brighter 
Than the wanwhite fire of the moon. 
Foam, spray, and surge 
Of rushing waters ! 
O the hot flood of sunshine 
Yellowly pouring 

Over and into thee, jubilant Fountain : 
Thy cataracts filled 
With vanishing rainbows. 
Shimmering lights 
As though the Aurora's 
Wild polar fires 

Flashed in thy happy biibbles, died in thy 

Ever in joyous laughter 
Thy wavelets are dancing. 
Little waves with crests bright with sun- 
Tossing their foamy arms. 
Laughing and leaping. 
Whirling, inweaving, 
Rippling at last and sleepily laving 
The mossed stone -barriers 
That clasp them round. 
Bright too and joyous. 
They, in the moonshine, 
When the falling waters 
Are as wreaths of snow 

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola 

Falling for ever 
Down mountain-flanks, 
Like melting snows 
In the high hill-hollows 
Seen from the valleys 
And seeming to fall. 
To fall forever 
A flower of water. 
Silent, and stirred not 
By any wind. 

Bright too and joyous 
In darkling nights. 
When the moon shroudeth 
Her face in a Veil 
Of cloudy vapours. 
Or, like a flower 
I' the wane of its beauty, 
Droopeth and falleth 
Till lost to sight, 
Stoopeth and fadeth 
Into the dark — 
Or when like a sickle 
Thin and silvern 
She moveth slowly 
Through the starry fields, 
Moveth slowly 
'Mid the flowers of the stars 
In the harvest -fields 

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola 

Of Eternity : 
Bright too and joyous, 
For then the shadows 
Play with the foam-lights, 
With the flying whiteness. 
And snowy surging. 
But brighter, more joyous. 
Save when the moon-flower 
In all her splendour 
Floats on thy bosom. 
Or, rather, dreameth 
Deep in the heart of thee 
O happy Fountain : 
Brighter, more joyous. 
Thee, when amidst thee, 
Strewn through thy waters. 
The stars are sown 
As seed multitudinous. 
As silvern seed 
In thy shadowy-furrows : 
Seed of the skiey flowers 
That in the heavens 
Bloom forever. 
Blossoms and blooms of 
Eternal splendour. 
Then is thy joy most, 
O jubilant Fountain, 
Then are thy waters 
Sweetest of song, 

The Fountain of the Acqua Paola 

Then do thy waters 

Surge, leap, rejoicing, 

Lave, and lapse slowly 

To haunted stillness 

And darkling dreams : 

Then is thy music rarest. 

Wildest and sweetest 

Music of Rome — 

Rome the Eternal, 

Through whose heart of shadow 

Moveth slowly 

Flowing Maremma-ward 

Thy murmur, Tiber, 

Thy muffled voice. 

Whom none interpreteth 

But boding, ominous. 

Is as the sound of 

Murmurous seas 

Heard afar inland — 

There, where Maremma-ward 

Flowing heavily, 

Moveth, Tiber, 

Thy turbid wave. 



{Agro Romano) 

As though the dead cities 

Of the ancient time 

Were builded again 

In the heights of heaven, 

With spires of amber 

And golden domes, 

Wide streets of topaz and amethyst ways ; 

Far o'er the pale blue waste, 

Oft purple-shadowed. 

Of the Agro Romano, 

Rises the splendid 

City of Cloud. 

There must the winds be soft as the twilight 

Invisibly falling when the day-star has 

wester'd ; 
There must the rainbows trail up through 

the sunlight, 
So fair are the hues on those white snowy 

Mountainous glories, 



They move superbly ; 

Crumbling so slowly, 

That none perceives when 

The golden domes 

Are sunk in the valleys 

Of fathomless snow, 

Or when, in silence. 

The loftiest spires 

Fade into smoke, or as vapour that passeth 

When the hot breath of noon 

Thirsts through the firmament. 

Beautiful, beautiful. 

The City of Cloud, 

In splendour ruinous. 

With golden domes, 

And spires of amber, 

Builded superbly 

In the heights of heaven. 



{In the Sabine valleys near Rome) 

Through the seeding grass, 

And the tall com, 

The wind goes : 

With nimble feet, 

And blithe voice, 

Calling, calling, 

The wind goes 

Through the seeding grass. 

And the tall com. 

What calleth the wind. 

Passing by — 

The shepherd-wind ? 

Far and near 

He laugheth low 

And the red poppies 

Lift their heads 

And toss i' the sun. 

A thousand thousand blooms 

Tost i' the air, 


Red Poppies 

Banners of joy, 

For 'tis the shepherd-wind 

Passing by. 

Singing and laughing low 

Through the seeding grass 

And the tall corn . 



Here where the sunlight 

Floodeth the garden, 

Where the pomegranate 

Reareth its glory 

Of gorgeous blossom ; 

Where the oleanders 

Dream through the noontides ; 

And, like surf o' the sea 

Round cliffs of basalt. 

The thick magnolias 

In billowy masses 

Front the sombre green of the ilexes 

Here where the heat lies 

Pale blue in the hollows. 

Where blue are the shadows 

On the fronds of the cactus. 

Where pale blue the gleaming 

Of fir and cypress. 

With the cones upon them 

Amber or glowing 

With virgin gold : 


The White Peacock 

Here where the honey-flower 

Makes the heat fragrant, 

As though from the gardens 

Of Gulistan, 

Where the bulbul singeth 

Through a mist of roses 

A breath were borne : 

Here where the dream-flowers, 

The cream-white poppies 

Silently waver, 

And where the Scirocco, 

Faint in the hollows, 

Foldeth his soft white wings in the sunlight. 

And lieth sleeping 

Deep in the heart of 

A sea of white violets : 

Here, as the breath, as the soul of this 

Moveth in silence, and dreamlike, and slowly. 

White as a snow-drift in mountain-vaUeys 

When softly upon it the gold light lingers : 

White as the foam o' the sea that is driven 

O'er billows of azure agleam with sun- 
yellow : 

Cream-white and soft as the breasts of a girl. 

Moves the White Peacock, as though 
through the noontide 

A dream of the moonlight were real for a 


The White Peacock 

Dim on the beautiful fan that he spreadeth, 

Foldeth and spreadeth abroad in the sun- 

Dim on the cream-white are blue adum- 

Shadows so pale in their delicate blueness 

That visions they seem as of vanishing 

The fragrant white violets veined with 

Pale, pale as the breath of blue smoke in far 

Here, as the breath, as the soul of this 

White as a cloud through the heats of the 

Moves the White Peacock. 



{The Lake of Nemi : September) 

White through the azure, 

The purple blueness. 

Of Nemi's waters 

The swimmer goeth. 

Ivory-white, or wan white as roses 

Yellowed and tanned by the suns of the 

His strong limbs sever the violet hollows ; 
A shimmer of white fantastic motions 
Wavering deep through the lake as he 

Like gorse in the sunlight the gold of his 

yellow hair, 
Yellow with sunshine and bright as with 

Spray of the waters flung back as he tosseth 
His head i' the sunlight in the midst of his 

laughter : 
Red o'er his body, blossom-white 'mid the 



The Swimmer of Nemi 

And trailing behind him in glory of scarlet, 
A branch of the red-berried ash of the 

White as a moonbeam 
Drifting athwart 
The purple twilight, 
The swimmer goeth — 
Joyously laughing. 
With o'er his shoulders, 
Agleam in the sunshine 
The trailing branch 
With the scarlet berries. 
Green are the leaves, and scarlet the berries, 
White are the limbs of the swimmer beyond 

Blue the deep heart of the still, brooding 

Pale-blue the hills in the haze of September, 
The high Alban hills in their silence and 

Purple the depths of the windless heaven 
Curv'd like a flower o'er the waters of Nemi. 

1 60 



As a bubbling fount 

That suddenly wells 

And rises in tall spiral waves and flying 

The high, sweet, quavering, throbbing voice 
Of the nightingale ! 

Not yet the purple veil of dusk has fallen. 
But o'er the yellow band 
That binds the west 
The vesper star beats like the pulse of 


Up from the fields 

The peasants troop 

Singing their songs of love : 

And oft the twang of thin string'd music 

High o'er the welcoming shouts. 
The homing laughter. 
The whirling bats are out. 
And to and fro 
I i6i L 

Al Far delta Notte 

The blue swifts wheel 

Where, i' the shallows of the dusk, 

The grey moths flutter 

Over the pale blooms 

Of the night -flowering bay. 

Softly adown the slopes. 

And o'er the plain, 

Ave Maria 

Solemnly soundeth. 

The long day is over. 

Dusk, and silence now : 

And Night, that is as dew 

On the Flower of the World. 



{Spring on the Camfagna) 

Bloweth like snow 
From the grey thistles 
The thistledown : 
And the fairy-feathers 
O' the dandelion 
Are tossed by the breeze 
Hither and thither : 
Over the grasses, 
The seeding grasses 
Where the poppies shake 
And the campions waver. 
And where the clover, 
Purple and white. 
Fills leagues with the fragrance 
Of sunsweet honey ; 
Hither and thither 
The fairy-feathers 
O' the dandelion. 
And white puff-balls 
O' the thistledown. 
Merrily dancing. 
Light on the breeze, 


Wheeling and sailing; 
And laughing to scorn 
The butterflies 
And the moths of azure ; 
Blowing like snow 
Or foam o' the sea, 
Hither and thither 
Upward and downward. 

Now for a moment 
A thistledown 
On a white ball resteth, 
Sunbleached and hollow ; 
A human skuU 
Of the ancient days. 
When Sabines and Latins 
Made all the land here 
As red with blood 
As it now is scarlet 
With flaming poppies. 
Now the feathers, 
O' the dandelion, 
Like sunlit swan's-down 
Long tost by the wind 
O'er the laughter of waters. 
Are blown like surf 
On a hidden rock — 
A broken arch 
Of a Roman temple, 


Where long, long ago. 

The swarthy priests 

Worshipped their Gods, 

The Gods now less than 

The very dust 

Whence the green grass springeth ! 

But for a moment, then the wind takes 

Blows them, plays with them. 

Tosses them high through the gold of the 

Wavers them upward, wavers them down- 

Hither and thither among the white butter- 

Over and under the blue-moths and honey- 

Over the leagues of blossoming clover, 

Purple and white, the sweet -smelling clover. 

Far o'er the grasses. 

And grey hanging thistles. 

Hither and thither 

Are floating and sailing 

The fairy-feathers 

O' the dandelion, 

Bloweth like snow 

The joy o' the meadows. 

The thistledown. 



{Near the Theatre of Marcellus : 
Piazza Montanara) 

Solitary he stands. 
Clad in his goat-skins, 
Though all about him 
The busy throng 
Cometh and goeth. 
Overhead, the vast ruin, 
Wind-worn, time-wrought. 
Gloomily rises. 
Scarce doth he note it. 
Yet doth it give him 
The touch of nearness. 
Which the soul craves for 
In alien places : 
As the strayed mariner. 
Yearning, far inland. 
For sight of the sea. 
Smiles when he fingers a rope, or 
Heareth the wind 
Surge round the hedgerows 

The Shepherd 

As erst through the cordage ; 

Or, on the endless, dusty, white high-road 

Puts his ear to the pole 

Vibrating with song, as the mast 

Erewhile rang with the hum 

Of the hurricane. 

What doth he here, 
Away from the pastures 
On the desolate Campagna ? 
From his haggard face 
Sorrowfully his wild black eyes 
Stare on the weariness, 
The noise, and hurry. 
And surge of the traffic. 
Sometimes, a faint smile 
Flitteth athwart his face, 
When a woman, from the well, 
Passeth by with a conca 
Poised on her head : 
Thus oft hath he seen 
The peasant girls 
In the little hamlets 
Far out on the plain : 
Or when a wine-cart 
With its tall cappoto 

A-swing like a high tent windswayed sidewise. 
Rattles in from the Appian highway. 
White with the dust of the Alban hills. 

The Shepherd 

What doth he here, 
He in whose eyes are 
The passion of the desert : 
He in whose ears rings 
The free music 
Of the winds that wander 
Through the desert -ruins ? 
Not here, O Shepherd, 
Wouldst thou fain dwell, 
Though in the Holy City 
God's Regent lives : 
Better the desolate waste. 
Better the free lone life. 
For there thou canst breathe, 
There silence abideth, 
There, not the Regent, 
But God himself 
Dwelleth and speaketh. 



Tinkle-trink, tinkle-trink, trinkle-trinkle, 

trink ! 
Hark, the mandolin ! 
Through the dusk the merry music falleth 

Where the fountain falls, 
Where the fountain falls all shimmering in 

the moonshine white, 
Tinkle-trink, tinkle-trink, trinkle-trinkle, 

trink ! 
Where the wind-stirred olives quiver, 
Quiver, quiver, leaves a-quiver. 
White as silver in the moonlight but like 

bat -wings in the dusk. 
Where the great grey moths sail slowly 
Slowly, slowly, like faint dreams 
In the wildering woods of Sleep, 
Where no night or day is. 
But only, in dim twilights, the wan sheen 
Of the Moon of Sleep. 

Hark, the mandolin ! 
Where the dark-coned cypress rises, 

The Mandolin 

Thin, more thin, till threadlike, wavering 

The last spray soars up as smoke. 

As a vanishing breath of incense. 

To the silent stars that glimmer 

In the veil of purple darkness. 

The deep vault of heaven that seemeth 

As a veil that falleth, 

A dark veil that foldeth gently 

The tired day-worn world, breathing stilly 

as a sleeping child. 
Hark, the mandolin : 
And a soft low sound of laughter ! 
Tinkle-trink, tinkle-trink, trinkle-trinkle, 

trink ! 

Hush : from out the cypress standing 

Black against the yellow moonlight 

What a thrill, what a sob, what a sudden 

rapture flung 
Athwart the dark ! 
Passion of song ! 
Silence again, save 'mid the whispering 

The unquiet wind, that as the tide 
Cometh and goeth. 
Now one long thrilling note, prolonged and 

And then a low swift stir, 
A whirr of fluttering wings, 

The Mandolin 

And, in the laurels near, two nested nightin- 
gales ! 

Loud, loud, the mandolin, 

Tinkle-trink, tinkle-irink, trinkle-innkle, 

Trink, trink, trinkle-trink ! 

Through the fragrant silent night it draweth 

Ah, the low cry, the little laugh, the rustle : 

Tinkle-trink — hush, a kiss — tinkle-trink — 
hush — hush — 

Tinkle-trink, tinkle-trink, trinkle-trinkle, 
trink ! 

Where the shadows massed together 
Make a hollow darkness, girt 
By the yellow flood of moonshine floating 

Where the groves of ilex whisper 
In the silence, fragrant, sweet. 
Where the ilexes are dreaming 
In their depths of darkest shadow, 
Move the fireflies slowly, 
Mazily inweaving. 
Interweaving, interflowing ; 
Wandering fires, like little lanterns 
Borne by souls of birds and flowers 
Seeking ever resurrection 
In the gladsome world of sunshine ; 

The Mandolin 

Seekly vainly through the darkness 

In beneath the ilex-branches 

Where the very moonshine faileth, 

And the dark grey moths wave wanly 

Flitting from the outer gloaming. 

Oh, the fragrance, and the mystery, and the 

silence ! 
Where the fireflies, 'mid the ilex, 
Rise and fall, recross, inweave 
In an endless wavy motion. 
In a slow aerial dancing 
In a maze of little flames 
In and out the ilex-branches : 
Hush ! the mandolin ! 
Louder still, and louder, louder : 
Ah, the happy laugh, and rustle. 
Rustle, rustle. 

Ah, the kiss, the cry, the rapture. 
Silence, where the ilex-branches 
Loom out faintly from their darkness 
Where, slow-wandering flames, the fireflies 
Rise and fall, recross, inweave 
In an endless wavy motion. 
In a slow aerial dancing. 

Silence : not a breath is stirring : 
Not a leaflet quivers faintly. 
Silence : even the bats are silent 
Wheeling swiftly through the upper air, 

The Mandolin 

Where the gnat's thin shrilling music 
Fades into the flooding moonlight : 
Hush, low whispered words and kisses, 
Hush, a cry of pain, of rapture. 
Not a sound, a sound thereafter. 
But a low sweet sigh of breathing, 
And, from out the flowering laurel. 
Just a twittering breath of music. 
Just a long-drawn pulsing note 
Of a sweet and passionate answer. 
Silence : hark, a stir — low laughter — 
Whispered words — and rustle — rustle — 
Trink — trink — ^the mandolin ! 
Hark, it trinkles down the valley, 
Trink-trink, trinkle-trink, trinkle-trink ! 
Past the cistus, blooming whitely. 
Past the oleander-bushes. 
Past the ilexes and olives. 
Where the two tall pines are whispering 
With the sleepy wind that foldeth 
His tired pinions ere he sleepeth 
On the flood of amber moonlight. 
Wind o' the night, tired wind o' night — 
Tinkle-trink, trink, trinkle-trink, 
Trink, trinkle-trink, 
Trink ! 



Flitter, flitter, through the twilight, 

Pipistrello : 

Where the moonshine glitters 

Waver thy swart wings. 

Darting hither, thither. 

Swift as wheeling swallow. 

Where the shadows gather 

In and out thou fittest. 

Flitter, flitter, 

Waver, waver, 


Thin thy faint aerial song is. 

Thin and fainter than the shrilling 

Of the gnats thou chasest wildly. 

But how delicately dainty — 

Thin and faint and wavering also. 

In the high sweet upper air. 

Where the gnats weave endless mazes 

In their pyramidal dances — 

And thy dusky wings go flutter. 

Flutter, flutter. 

Waver, waver. 

But without a sound or rustle 

Through the purple air of twilight. 

Flitter, flitter, flutter, flitter, 




(The Sea-Gull : Pontine Marshes) 

Here where the marsh 
Waves white with ranunculus, 
Where the yellow daffodil 
Flieth his banner 
In the fetid air, 
And oft 'mid the bulrushes 
Rustleth the porcupine 
Or surgeth the boar — 
Though bloweth rarely 
The fresh wind. 
The Tramontana, 
And only Scirocco 
Heavily lifts 

The feathery plumes the tall canes carry 
What dost thou here, 
O bird of the ocean ? 
Here, where the marshes 
Are never stirred 
By the pulse of the tides ; 
Here where the white mists 

La Velia 

Crawl on the swamp, 

But never the rush and the surge of the 

billows ? 
White as a snowflake thou gleamest, and 

passest : 
Drearier now the chill waste of the Stagno, 
Wearier now the dull silence and boding. 
Would that again 
Thy glad presence were gleaming 
Here where the marsh 
Steams white in the sunshine ; 
For swift on my sight. 
As thy white wings wavered, 
Broke the sea in its beauty. 
With foam, and splendour 
Of rolling waves : 
And loud on my ears (O the longing, the 

When thy cry filled the silence. 
Came the surge of the sea 
And the tumult of waters. 


{On the Latin Coast) 

Flower o' the wave. 

White foam of the waters. 

The many-coloured : 

Here blue as a hare-bell, 

Here pale as the turquoise ; 

Here green as the grasses 

Of mountain hollows. 

Here lucent as jade when wet in the sun- 

Here paler than apples ere ruddied by 

Depths o' the purple ! 

Amethyst yonder. 

Yonder as ling on the hills of October, 

With shadows as deep, 

Where islets of sea-wrack 

Wave in the shallows. 

As the sheen of the feathers 

On the blue-green breast 

Of the bird of the Orient, 

The splendid peacock. 

I 177 M 

Spuma dal Mare 

Foam o' the waves. 

White crests ashine 

With a dazzle of sunUght ! 

Here the low breakers are rolling through 

Yellow and muddied, the hue of the topaz 
Ere cut from the boulder ; 
Save when the sunlight swims through them 

When inward they roll 
Long billows of amber. 
Crowned with pale yellow 
And grey-green spume. 
Here wan grey their slopes 
Where the broken lights reach them. 
Dull grey of pearl, and dappled, and 

As when 'mid the high 
Northward drift of the clouds, 
Scirocco bloweth 
With soft fanning breath. 

Foam o' the waves, 
Blown blossoms of ocean, 
White flowers of the waters. 
The many-coloured. 



Where the sea-wind ruffles 

The pale pink blooms 

Of the fragrant Daphne, 

And passeth softly 

Over the sward 

Of the cyclamen-blossoms, 

The Bather stands. 

Rosy white, as a cloud at the dawning, 

Silent she stands, 

And looks far seaward. 

As a seabird, dreaming 

On some lone rock, 

Poiseth his pinions 

Ere over the waters 

He moves like a vision 

On motionless wings. 

Beautiful, beautiful. 
The sunlit gleam 
Of her naked body. 

Ivory-white 'mid the cyclamen-blossoms 

The Bather 

A wave o' the sea 'mid the blooms of the 

Blue as the innermost heart of the ocean 
The arch of the sky where the wood runneth 

Blue as the depths of the innermost heaven 
The vast heaving breast of the slow-moving 

waters : 
Green the thick grasses that run from the 

Green as the heart of the foam-crested 

Curving a moment ere washing far inland 
Up the long reach of the sands gleaming 

The land-breath beareth 
Afar the fragrance 
Of thyme and basil 
And clustered rosemary ; 
And o'er the fennel, 
And through the broom. 
It fioateth softly. 
As the wind of noon 
That Cometh and goeth 
Though none hearkens 
Its downy wings. 
And keen, the seawind 
Bears up the odours 
Of blossoming pinks 


The Bather 

And salt rock-grasses, 
Of rustling seaweed 
And mosses of pools 
Where the rosy blooms 
Of the sea-flowers open 
'Mid stranded waves. 
As a water-lily 
Touched by the breath 
Of sunrise-glory, 
Moveth and swayeth 
With tremulous joy, 
So o'er the simlit 
White gleaming body 
Of the beautiful bather 
Passeth a quiver 

Rosy-white, as a cloud at the dawning, 
Poised like a swallow that meeteth the wind. 
For a moment she standeth 
Where the sea-wind softly 
Moveth over 

The thick pink sward of the cyclamen- 
Moveth and rustleth 
With faint susurrus 
The pale pink blooms 
Of the fragrant Daphne. 



Like a breath that comes and goes 

O'er the waveless waste 

Of sleeping Ocean, 

So sweeps across the plain 

The herd of wild horses. 

Like banners in the wind 

Their flying tails, 

Their streaming manes : 

And like spume of the sea 

Fang'd by breakers, 

The white froth tossed from their blood-red 

Out from the midst of them 
Dasheth a white mare, 
White as a swan in the pride of her beauty : 
And, like the whirlwind, 
Following after, 
A snorting stallion. 
Swart as an Indian 
Diver of coral ! 
Wild the gyrations. 
The rush and the whirl ; 

The Wild Mare 

Loud the hot panting 

Of the snow-white mare, 

As swift upon her 

The staUion gaineth : 

Fierce the proud snorting 

Of him, victorious : 

And loud, swelhng loud on the wind from 

the mountains. 
The hoarse savage tumult of neighing and 

Where, wheeling, the herd of wild horses 

awaiteth — 
Ears thrown back, tails thrashing their 

flanks or swept under — 
The challenging scream of the conqueror - 





Softly as feathers 

That fall through the twilight 

When wild swans are winging 

Back to the northward : 

Softly as waters, 

Unrufifled, and tideless. 

Laving the mosses 

Of inland seas : 

Soft through the forest, 

And down through the valley. 

Light as a breath o'er the pools of the 

Still as a moonbeam over the pastures, _ 
Goeth Scirocco. 

Warm his breath : 
The night-flowers know it, 
Love it, and open 
Their blooms for its sweetness : 
Warm the tender low wind of his pinions 


Scarce brushing together the spires of the 

grasses : 
Ah, how they whisper, the little green leaflets 
Black in the dusk or grey in the moonlight : 
Ah, how they whisper and shiver, the 

Leaves of the poplar, and shimmer and rustle 
When soft as a vapour that steals from the 

The wings of Scirocco fan silently through 


Oft-times he lingers 
By ruined nests 
Deep in the hedgerows, 
And bloweth a feather 
In little eddies, 
A yellow feather 
That once had fluttered 
On a breast alive with 
A rapture of song : 
But slowly ceaseth, 
And passeth sadly. 
Oft-times he riseth 
Up through the branches 
Where the fireflies wander 
Up through the branches 
Of oak and chestnut, 
And stirs so gently 



With sway of his wings 

That the leaves, dreaming, 

Think that a moonbeam 

Only, or moonshine. 

Moves through the heart of them. 

Upward he soareth 

Oft, silently floating 

Through the purple aether. 

Still as the fern-owl over the covert. 

Or as allocco haunting the woodland, 

Up to the soft curded foam of the cloudlets. 

The white dappled cloudlets the south- 
wind bringeth. 

There, dreaming, he moveth 

Or sails through the moonlight. 

Till chill in the high upper air and the 

Slowly he sinketh 

Earthward again. 

Silently floateth 

Down o'er the woodlands : 

Foldeth his wings and slow through the 

Drifts, scarcely breathing. 

Till tired, 'mid the flowers or the hedgerows 
he creepeth. 

Whispers alow 'mid the spires of the grasses, 

Or swooning at last to motionless slumber 

Floats like a shadow adrift on the pastures. 


Fresh from the Sabines, 

The Beautiful Hills, 

The wind bloweth. 

Down o'er the slopes, 

Where the olives whiten 

As though the feet 

Of the wind were snow-clad : 

Out o'er the plain 

Where a paradise 

Of wild blooms waveth. 

And where, in the sunswept 

Leagues of azure, 

A thousand larks are 

As a thousand founts 

'Mid the perfect joy of 

The depth of heaven. 

Swift o'er the heights. 

And over the valleys 

Where the grey oxen sleepily stand, 

Down, like a wild hawk swooping earthward. 

Over the winding reaches of Tiber, 

Bloweth the wind ! 


The Wind at Fidenae 

How the wind bloweth, 

Here on the steeps of 

Ancient Fidenae, 

Where no voice soundeth 

Now, save the shepherd 

Calling his sheep ; 

And where none wander 

But only the cloud-shadows, 

Vague ghosts of the past. 

Sweet and fresh from the Sabines, 

Now as of yore. 

When Etruscan maidens 

Laughed as their lovers 

Mocked the damsels 

Of alien Rome, 

Sweet with the same young breath o' the 

Bloweth the wind. 



No sound, 

Save the hush'd breath, 

The slowly flowing, '^ -^ 

The long and low withdrawing breath of 

Not a leaf quivers, where the dark. 

With eyes of rayless shadow and moonht 

Dreams in the black 

And hoUow cavernous depth of the ilex- 

No sound. 

Save the hush'd breath of Rome, 

And sweet and fresh and clear 

The bubbling, swaying, ever quavering jet 

Of water fill'd with pale nocturnal gleams. 

That, in the broad low fount, 


FaUeth and riseth, 

Riseth and falleth, swayeth and surgeth, 

A spring of life and joy where ceaselessly 

Sorgendo da Luna 

The shadow of two sovran powers make 
A terror without fear, a night that hath no 

Time, with his simht wings, 
Death, with his pinions vast and duskily 

dim : 
Time, breathing vanishing hfe : 
Death, breathing low 
From twilights of Oblivion whence Time 

A wild and wandering star forlornly whirled, 
Seen for a moment, ere for ever lost. 
Up from the marble fount 
The water leaps. 
Sways in the moonshine, springeth, 

Falleth and riseth. 
Like sweet faint lapping music. 
Soft gurgling notes of woodland brooks that 

Low laughing where the hollowed stones are 

With slippery moss that hath a trickling 

sound : 
Leapeth and springeth. 
Singing forever 
A wayward song. 
While the vast wings of Time and Death 

drift slowly, 


Sorgendo da Luna 

While, faint and far, tiie tides of life 

Sigh in a long scarce audible breath from 

Or fainther still withdraw down shores of 

dusk ; 
For ever singing 
It leapeth and falleth : 
Falleth and leapeth, 
And falleth. 



{South of Rome) 

Pale-rose the dust lying thick upon the 

road : 
Grey-green the thirsty grasses by the way. 
The long flat silvery sheen of the vast 

Shimmers beneath the blazing tide of noon. 
The blood-red poppies flame 
Like furnace-breaths : 
Like wan vague dreams the misty lavender 
Drifts greyly through the quivering maze; 

or seems 
Thus through the visionary glow to drift. 
On the far slope, beyond the ruin'd arch, 
A grey-white cloudlet rests, 
The cluster'd sheep alow : close, moveless 

And silent, save when faintly from their 

A slumberous tinkle comes, 
Cometh, and goeth. 


/« July 

Low-stretch'd in the blue shade. 

Beneath the ruin 

The shepherd sleeps. 

Nought stirs. 

The wind moves not, nor with the faintest 

Toucheth the half -fallen blooms of the 

Here only, where the pale pink ash 
Of the long road doth slowly flush to rose, 
A bronze-wing'd beetle moveth low. 
And sends one tiny puff of smoke-like dust 
Faint through the golden glimmer of the 





Where Ardea, the cliff -girt, 
Looks to the Sea, 
Dreaming forever 
In her desert place 
Of her vanished glory — 
There too in the tall grass, 
Starred with narcissus 
And the flaming poppy, 
I dreamed a dream. 

Not of the days when 
The fierce trumpeting 
Of the Asian elephants 
Made the wild horses 
Snort in new terror, 
Snort and wheel wildly. 
Till o'er the Campagna 
They passed like a trail 
Of vanishing smoke. 
No, nor when 

A Dream at Ardca 

The brazen clarions 

Of the Roman legion 

Summoned the hill-folk 

To the Pmiic War : 

Nor yet when the shadow 

Of the falling star 

Of the House of Tarquin 

Swept unseen o'er the banquet, 

And none, foreseeing. 

Drew forth the pure sword 

For the foul heart of Sextus. 

Nor yet of the ancient days 

When the fierce Rutuli 

Laughed at the boasting of 

The seven-hilled city. 

And when on rude altars 

White victims lay. 

To appease the anger 

Of barbarian Gods — 

Nay, not of these, not even the far-off. 

The ancient time, when the mother of 

Danae the beautiful, came hither and 

Close to the sea the hill-town which standeth 
Now amid leagues of the inland grasses. 
White with the surf of the blossoming 

asphodels — 
Nay, but only 


A Dream at Ardea 

Of the shrine of her, 

Venus, the Beautiful One, 

The Well-Beloved. 

Lost, it lieth 

Deep 'mid the tangle, 

Deep 'neath the roots of the flowers and the 

Drawn like a veil o'er 

The face of Maremma. 

Only the brown lark 

Singing above it. 

Only the grey hare 

Beneath the wild olive. 

Only the linnet aflit in the myrtle. 

Only the spotted snake 

Writhing swiftly 

O'er the thyme and the spikenard. 

Only the falcon 

Dusking a moment the gold of the yellow 

Only the things of the air and the desert. 

Know where deep in the maze of the under- 

Lieth the shrine of the sacred Goddess, 

The shrine of Venus. 

Up through the dark blue mist of the hare- 
All the wild glory, with trailing convolvulus, 

Lenten lilies asway in the sunlight. 

A Dream at Ardea 

Wine-dark anemones, pasque-flowers of 

Iris and daffodil and sweet -smelling violet. 
And high over all the white and gold 

Where the wind raced o'er the asphodel 

meadows : 
All the flower-glory of Spring in Maremma. 
But here, just here, a mist of the harebells — 
Up through the dark blue mist of the hare- 
Rose like a white smoke hovering gently 
Over the windless woodlands of Ostia 
Where the charcoal-burners wander like 

■ shadows. 
Rose a white vapour, stealthily, slowly. 

Ah, but the wonder ! the wan ghost of 

Rose slowly before me : 
Dark, deep, and awful the eyes of the vision. 
Sad beyond words that wraith of dead 

Chill now and solemn 
Austere as the grave. 
The face that had blanched 
The high gods of old. 
The face that had led 
The heroes of men 


A Dream at Ardea 

From the heights of Caucasus 

To the uttermost ends 

Of Earth, as leadeth nightly 

The Moon, her cohorts 

Of perishing billows. 

" I am she whom thou lovest : " 

" Nay, whom I worship, Goddess and Queen ! " 

" I am she whom thou worshippest : " 

" For thou art Beauty, and Beauty I worship. 

And thou art Love, and Love — " 

" Love is Beauty. They love not nor 

They who dissever the one from the 

" Hearken, Goddess ! " 
" Nay, shadow of shadows, why callest me 

Goddess ! 
Far from thy world ' the Goddess ' is 

Ye have chosen the dark : the dark be 

with you ! 
Ye have chosen sorrow : and sorrow is 

yours : 
O fools that worship vain Gods, and know not 
That life is the breath but of perishing dust — 
They only live in whose hearts there hath 

The breath of my passion — " 
" Goddess, fade not ! " 

A Dream at Ardea 

" I pass, and behold. 
With my passing goeth 
The joy of the world ! " 

Darkly austere 

The face of the Goddess. 

Then like a flame 

That groweth wan 

And flickereth forth from the reach of vision, 

The face of Venus 

Was seen no more, 

Though through the mist 

Her eyes gleamed darkly. 

Great fires of joy — 

Of joy disherited. 

But glorious ever 

In their lordly scorn, 

Their high disdain. 

Not till the purple-hue d 
Wings of the twilight 
Waved softly downward 
From the Alban hills. 
And moved stilly 

Over the vast dim leagues of Maremraa, 
Turned I backward 
My wandering steps. 
Far o'er the white-glimmering 
Breast of the Tyrrhene Sea 
(Laid as in sleep at the feet of the hills) 

A Dream at Ardea 

Rose, dropping liquid fires 

Into the wine-dark vault of the heaven, 

The Star of Evening, 

Venus, the Evening Star : 

Eternal, serene. 

In deathless beauty 

Revolving ever 

Through the stellar spheres ! 

High o'er the shadowy heights 
Of the Volscian summits 
The full moon soared : 
Soared slowly upward 
Like a golden nenuphar 
In a vaster Nilus 
Than that which floweth 
Through the heart of Egypt. 
The moon that maketh 
The world so beautiful, 
That moveth so tenderly 
Over desolate things. 
The moon that giveth 
The amber light, 
Wherein best blossom 
The mystic flowers 
Of human love. 

Through the darkness 
Whelming the waste. 
And, like a stealthy tide 


A Dream at Ardea 

Rising around 

Ardea, the cliff-girt, 

Wavered the sound of joyous laughter. 

Sweet words and sweeter 

Fell where the lentisc 

Bloomed, and the rosemary : 

Loving caresses 

Lost in a rustle 

Where the hawthorn-bushes 

Loomed large in the twilight 

Of the fireflies' lanterns. 

Deep in the heart of 

A myrtle-thicket 

A nightingale stirred : 

With low sweet note, 

Thrilling strangely. 

And as though moving 

With the breath of its passion 

The midmost leaves. 

But once her plaint : — 

Then wild and glad. 

In a free ecstasy. 

In utter bliss, 

In one high whirl of rapture, sang 

His answering song 

Her mate, low swaying upon a bough. 

With throat full-strained, and quivering wings 

Beating with tremulous whirr. 


A Dream at Ardea 

Then I was glad, 

For surely I knew 

I had dreamed a dream 'neath the spell of 

Not sunk in the drift 
Of antique dust. 
Lost from the ken of Earth 
Within her shrine, 
Venus, the Beautiful, 
The Queen of Love ! 
But though no longer 
Beheld of man, 
Still living and breathing 
Through the heart of the world — 
Whether in the song. 
Passionate, beautiful. 
Of the nightingale ; 
Or in the glad rapture 
Of lovers meeting. 
With soft cai-esses 
Hid in the dusk ; 

In the fair flower of the vast field of heaven ; 
Or in the glow. 
The pulsing splendour. 
Of the white star of joy, 
The Star of Eve. 



Whence hast thou gone, 
vision beloved ? 
There is silence now 
In thy groves, and never 
A voice proclaimeth 
Thy glory come. 
Thy joy rearisen ! 

O passion of beauty. 
Forsake not thus 
Those who have worshipped thee. 
Body and soul ! 
Come to us, come to us. 
Inviolate, Beautiful, 
Thou whose breath 
Is as Spring o'er the world, 
Whose smile is the flowering 
Of the wide green Earth ! 
Deep in the heart of thee. 
Like a moonbeam moving 
Through the heart of a hill-lake 
Moveth Compassion : 

De Pfofundis 

O Beloved, 
Be with us ever, 
Thou, the Beautiful, 
Passion of Beauty, 
Alma Victrix ! 



O dolce prima vera pien' di olezzo e amor! 
Che fai tu . . . cbe fai f ra tanti fior ? 

Colgo le rose amabili dei piCl soavi odori ; 
Colgo le rose affabili e i lunghi gelsomini, 
Nei olenti miei giardini io vi tengo al cor. 

Roman Folksong. 

Joy of the world, 

O flower-crown'd Spring, 

With thine odorous breath and thy heart of 

Breathe through this verse thy sweet mes- 
sage of longing. 

Lo, in the gardens of Alma, whose lovers 

Die gladly in worship, but fail not ever. 

Oft have I strayed. 

Oft have I lingered 

When high through the noon the lost lark 
has been singing. 

Or when in the moonlight 

Soft through the silence has whispered the 

Or when, in the dark 


Ultimo Sospiro 

Of the ilex-woods, 

Where the fireflies wavered 

Frail wandering stars, 

Not a sound has been heard 

But Scirocco rustling 

The midmost leaves 

Of the trees where he sleepeth. 

Roses of love, 

White lilies of dream, 

Frail blooms that have blossom'd 

Into life with thy breathing : 

Blow them, O wind. 

West wind of the Spring, 

Lift them and take them where gardens 

await them, 
Lift them and take them to those who 

Facing the dawn, for the sounds of the 

With wide eyes glad with the beautiful 

O whispers of joy, 
O breaths of passion, 
O sighs of longing. 



II Bosco Sacro 

Ah, the sweet silence : 
Not a breath stirreth : 
Scarce a leaf moveth. 

The Dusk, as a dream, 
Steals slowly, slowly. 
With shadowy feet 
Under the branches 
Here, in the woodland, 
Hushfiilly seeking 
The Night, her lover. 

Sweet are the odours 
Breath'd through the twilight, 
Lovely spirits 
Of lovely things. 
One by one 

Forth-shimmer white stars 
Beyond the skiey 
Boughs of chestnuts, 


Pale Phosphorescence 
Gleaming and glancing 
As in the wake 
Of a windspent vessel 
That, naoonlike, drifts 
With motionless motion. 

Peace : utter peace. 
Not a sound riseth 
From where in the hollow 
The town lies dreaming : 
Not a cry from the pastures 
That far below 
Are drowsed in the shadows. 
Only afar, 

On the dim Campagna, 
Peace, utter peace : 
On the pastures, peace 
Low in the hollows. 
Deep in the woodlands. 
High on the hill-slopes. 
Rest, utter rest, 
Utter peace. 

Suddenly . . . thrilling 
Long-drawn vibrations ! 
Passionate preludes 
Of passionate song 
O the wild music 


Tost through the silence, 

As a swaying fountain 

Is swept by the wind's wings 

Far through the sunshine, 

A mist of flashing 

And falling spray. 

How the hush of the stillness 

Deepeneth slowly. . . . 

Till never, never 

Can pain and rapture 

So wild a music, 

So sweet a song, 

List in the moonlight — 

Listen again 

never, never ! 

O heart still thy beating : 
O bird, thy song ! 
Too deep the rapture 
Of this new sorrow. 
White falls the moonshine 
Here, where we gather'd 
The snow-pure blossoms. 
The Flowers of Dream : 
Here, when the sunlight 
On that glad day 
Flooded the mosses 
With golden wine. 
And deep in the forest, 


Joy passed us, laughing. 
Laughing low, 
While ever behind her 
Rose lovely, delicate. 
Beautiful, beautiful. 
The fadeless blossoms, 
The Flowers of Dream. 
Be still, beating, 
O yearning heart ! 
Here there is silence . . . 
Silence . . . Silence . . . 
O beating heart ! 

Here, in the sunshine. 
Together we gather'd 
The perfect blooms : 
And now in the gloaming, 
Here, where the moonlight. 
Lies like white foam on 
The dark tides of night. 
Here is one only. 
Longing forever. 
Longing, longing 
With passion and pain. 

Come, O Beloved ! 
O heart, be still ! 
Nay, through the silence 
Cometh no answer, 



But only, only 
The sweet subsiding 
Of this wild strain 
Now lost in the thickets 
Down in the hollows. 

Hark . . . rapture outwelling ! 

O song of joy ! 

Glad voice of my passion 

Singing there 

Out of the heart of 

The fragrant darkness ! 

O flowers at my feet^ 

White beautiful flowers, 

That whisper, whisper 

My soul's desire ! 

O never, never 

Lost though afar, 

My Joy, my Dream 

Too deep the rapture 
Of this sweet sorrow. 
Of this glad pain : 
O heart, still thy beating, 
O bird, thy song ! 






While still the dusk impends above the 
glimmering waste 
A tremor comes : wave after wave turns 
silvery bright : 
A sudden yellow gleam athwart the east is 
traced : 
The waning stars fade forth, swift perish- 
ing pyres . 
The moon lies pearly-wan upon the front 

of Night. 
Then all at once upwells a flood of golden 

And a myriad waves flash forth a myriad 
fires : 
Now is the hour the amplest glory of life to 

Outswimming towards the sun upon the 
billowy waste. 


The pure green waves ! with crests of 
dazzling foam ashine. 
Onward they roll : innumerably grand, 
they beat 



A wild and jubilant triumph-music all 
divine ! 
The sea-fowl, their white kindred of the 

spray-swept air. 
Scream joyous echoes as with wave- 
dipped pinions fleet 
They whirl before the blast or vanish 

'mid blown sleet. 
In loud-resounding, strenuous, conquering 
play they fare. 
Like clouds, high over head, forgotten lands 

i' the brine — 
Great combing deep-sea waves with sunlit 
foam ashine. 


On the wide wastes she lives her lawless, 

passionate life : 

Enslaved of none, the imperious mighty 

Sea ! 

How glorious the music of her waves at strife 

With all the winds of heaven that, fiercely 

wooing, blow ! 
On high she ever chants her psalm of 

Victory ; 
Afar her turbulent paean tells that she is 

free ; 
The tireless albatross with wings like 
foam or snow 



Flies leagues on leagues for days, and yet 

the world seems rife 
With nought save windy waves and the Sea's 

wild free life ! 


How oft the strange, wild, haunting glamour 
of the Sea, 
The strange, compelling magic of her 
thrilhng Voice, 
Have won me, when, 'mid lonely places, wild 
and free 
As any wand'ring wind, I have heard 

along the shore 
The wondrous ever-varying Sea-song loud 

I have seen a snowy petrel, arising, poise 
Above the green-sloped wave, then pass 
for evermore 
From keenest sight, and I have thought that 

I might be 
Thus also deathward lured by glamour of the 


Hark to the long resilient surge o' the 
^ ebbing tide ; 
With shingly rush and roar it foams adown 
the strand : 



The great Sea heaves her restless bosom far 
and wide — 
Heedless she seems of winds and all the 

forceful laws 
That bar her empire over the usurping 

Land : 
Enough, she dreams, is her imperial 

To make the very torrents, waveward 
falling, pause : 
She scorns the Bridegroom-Land, yet is a 

subject Bride 
For she must come and go with each re- 
current tide. 


On moonless nights, when winds are still, 

her stealthy waves 
Creep towards the listening land ; with 

voices soft and low 
They whisper strange sea-secrets 'mid the 

hollow caves : 
A wondrous song it is that rises then and 

falls ! 
Deep-buried memories of the ancient long- 
Confused strange echoes of some vanished 

old world woe, 
Weird prophecies reverberant round those 

wave-worn walls : 


When loud the wrathful billows roar and the 

Sea runes 
Her deepest mourning broods beneath the 

foaming waves. 


As some aerial spirit weaves a rainbow-veil 
Of mist, his high immortal loveliness to 
hide ; 
So too thy palpitant waters, duskily pale, 
Oft-times take on a sudden splendour wild. 
Then thy sea-horses rise, fierce prancing 

side by side. 
And — like the host of the dead-arisen — ride 
Ghastly afar to bournes where all the dead 
lie piled ! . . . 
Superb, fantastic, crown'd with flying splen- 
dours frail. 
Thou, when in dreams, thou weav'st thy 
phosphorescent veil ! 


Vast, vast, immeasurably vast, thy dreadful 
When heaving with slow mighty breath 
thou liest 
In utter rest, and dost thy ministering winds 



So that with folded wings they too subside, 
Floating through hollow spaces, though 

the highest 
Stirs his long tremulous pinions when thou 

sighest ! 
Then in thy soul, that doth in fathomless 

depths abide; 
All wild desires and turbulent longings cease — 
Profound, immeasurable then, thy dreadful 

peace ! 


But in thy noon of night, serene as death, 
when under 
The terrible silence of that arched dome 
Not a lost whisper ev'n of thy wandering 
Ascends like the spiral smoke of perishing 

Nor dying wave on thy swart bosom sinks 

in foam — 
Then, then the world is thine, thy heri- 
tage, thy home ! 
What then for thee, O Sea, thou Terror ! 
or what name 
To call thee by, thou Sphinx, thou Mystery, 

thou Wonder — 
Above thou art Living Death, Oblivion 
under ! 



Over the lonesome hollows 
And secret haunts of the river, 
Past fields and homestead and village. 
Past the grey wharves and the piers 
The darkness moves like a veil. 
Save when obscure, vast, nigrescent 
Flakes from the travelling gloom 
Slant westward great fans of blackness. 

Then a mist of radiance. 
Lamps with red lights and yellow, 
Foam-white, and blue as an ice-floe. 
Lamps intermingling with gas-light. 
Leagues of wind-wavered gas-light. 
Lamps on the masts of barges. 
Lamps upon sloops and on steamers. 
Lamps below quays and dark bridges, 
Yellow and red and green. 
Like a myriad growths phosphorescent 
When a swamp, erewhile flooded with 


A Paris Nocturne 

Lies low to the stare of the moon 

And the stealthy white breath of the wind. 

And, over all, one light 

Palpitant, circular, wide. 

Sweeping the city vast — 

Yonder, beyond where in shadow 

The thronged Champs-Elysees are filling 

With echoes of human voices. 

With shadows of human lives. 

With phantoms of vampyre-vices — 

Beyond where the serpentine river 

Curves in a coil gigantic. 

And straight, a thin shaft, through the 

Soars the high lighthouse of Paris, 
Soars o'er the sea of the city 
With all its shoals and its terrors, 
Its perilous straits and its breakers. 
High o'er the brightness and splendour 
Of shores where the sirens sing ever. 

Then, shadows enmassed once again : 

And the river moving slowly. 

And the hills making darkness deeper. 

The lamps now fewer and fewer — 

Fewer the red lights and yellow, 

Till only a dusky barge 

Moves like a water-snake 

A Paris Nocturne 

On the face of a dark lagoon, 
A stealthy fire 'mid the stillness ; 
While from a weir in the distance 
Comes a sound like the cry of waters 
When the tides and the sea-winds gather 
And the sands of the dunes are scattered 
In the scud of the spray. 



One who never turned his back but marched breast 
Never doubted clouds would break. 
Never dreamed, though right were worsted, wrong 

would triumph : 
Held we fall to rise, are baffled to fight better. 
Sleep to wake. 

(Died at the Palazzo Rezzonico, Venice, December 12, 

So, it is well : what need is there to mourn ? 
What of the darkness was there, of the 
Of all the pity of old age forlorn 

When the swift mind and hand are 
though as dead ? 
Nothing : the change was his that comes to 
When, after long, rich, restful afternoons, 
A sudden flush of glory fills the skies : 
Thereafter is the peace of dream-fraught 
And then, oh ! then for sure, in the eastern 
At morn, once more Life's golden floods 


Robert Browning 

Ay, it is well : what better fate were his ? 
Why wish for him the twilight -greyness 
drear ? 
He hath not known the bitter thing it is 
To halt, and doubt, grope blindly, tremble, 
fear : 
The reverend snows above his forehead 
No ominous hints of that which might not 
No chill suggestion of the ephemeral soul : 
Unto the very end 'twas his to see 
Failure no drear climacteric, but wrought 
To nobler issues, a victorious goal. 

There, where the long lagoons by day and 
Feel the swift journeying tides, in ebb and 
Move inward from the deep with sound and 
And splendour of the seas, or outward go 
Resurgent from the city that doth rest 
Upon the flood even as a swan asleep. 
Or as a lily 'mid encircling streams, 
Or as a flower a dusky maid doth keep. 
An orient maid, upon her love-warm breast. 
Thrilled with its inspiration through her 
dreams — 
I 225 p 

Robert Browning 

There, in the city that he loved so well. 
And with the sea-sound in his ears, the 
Of healing waters in their miracle 

Of changeless and regenerative round, 
The strange and solemn silence that is 
Came o'er him. 'Mid the loved ones near 
The deep suspense of the last torturing 
Hung like a wounded bird, ere swift and 
It fall with the last frail exhausted breath 
And feeble fluttering wings that cannot 

There death was his : within his golden 
Painless, serene, unvanquished, undis- 
He fronted the dark lapse of mortal time 
With eyes alit, through all the gathering 
With the strange light that clothes immortal 
things — 
Beauty, and Truth, Faith, Hope, and Joy 
and Peace, 
The garnished harvest of our human 


Robert Browning 

Fair dreams and hopes that triumphed o'er 
The immaculate sweetness of all bygone 
The rainbow-glory of transfigured tears. 

Over him went the Powers, the Dreams, the 
The invisible Dominations that we know 
Despite the mystic veil that hides their 
The immortal faces that divinely glow : 
Fair Hope was there to take him by the 
hand ; 
White Aspirations smiled about his bed ; 
Desires and Dreams moved gently by 
his side ; 
Beauty stooped low, and shone upon the 
dead ; 
Joy spake not, for, from out the Deathless 
She led God's loveliest gift, his long-lost 

Oh, what a trivial mockery then was this. 
The change we so involve with alien 
terror : 
How lorn in light of that supernal bliss 
The ruinous wrecking folly of our error ! 

Robert Browning 

Sweet beyond words the meeting that was 
Sweet beyond words the deep-set yearning 
Sweet, sweet the voice that long had 
silent been ! 
Ah, how his soul, beleagured by no maze. 
No glooms of Death, i' that Paradisal air 
Knew all was well, since She was there, 
his Queer. 

They are not gone, those Dreams, Fair 
Hopes, and Graces, 
Those Powers and Dominations and 
They are not passed, though veiled the 
immortal faces, 
Though dimmed meanwhile their eyes' 
wild starry fires. 
Meanwhile, it may be, on wan wings and 
Invisible to mortal gaze, they gleam 
In solemn, sad, processional array 
There where the sunshafts through stained 
windows stream. 
And flood the gloomful majesty with 
And charm the aisles from out their 
brooding grey. 


Robert Browning 

They are not gone : nor shall they ever 
Those precious ministers of him, our Poet : 
What madness would it be for one to banish. 

To barter his inheritance, forego it. 
For some phantasmal gift, some transient 
boon ! 
Thus would it be with us were we to turn 
Indifferently aside, when they draw 
To look with callous gaze, nor once discern 
How swift they come and go, how all too 
They evade for ever the unheeding eye. 

They are not gone : for wheresoe'er there 
One hope his song inspired — whom they 
inspired — 
Yea, wheresoever in one heart there breatheth 

An aspiration by his ardour fired : 
Where'er through him are souls made serfs 
to Beauty, 
Where'er through him hearts stir with 
lofty aim. 
Where'er through him men thrill with 
high endeavour. 
There shall these ministers breathe low his 


Robert Browning 

Linked to ideals of Love and Truth and 
And all high things of mind and soul, 
for ever. 

No carven stone, no monumental fane, 

Can equal this : that he hath builded deep 
A cenotaph beyond the assoiling reign 
Of Her whose eyes are dusk with Night 
and Sleep, 
Queenly Oblivion : no Pyramid, 
No vast, gigantic Tomb, no Sepulchre 
Made awful with imag'ries of doom. 
Evade her hand who one day shall inter 
Man's proudest monuments, as she hath hid 
The immemorial past within her womb. 

For he hath built his lasting monument 

Within the hearts and in the minds of men : 
The Powers of Life around its base have bent 
The Stream of Memory; our furthest ken 
Beholds no reach, no limit to its rise ; 
It hath foundations sure ; it shall not 
pass ; 
The ruin of Time upon it none shall see. 
Till the last wind shall wither the last 
Nay, while man's Hopes, Fears, Dreams, and 
Uplift his soul to Immortahty. 


The Man 

Upon the mountain-heights thou goest; 

As swift as some fierce wind-swept flame ; 
Thy doom thou scornest while thou knowest 

Men mock thy name. 

But thou — thou hast the mountain-splen- 

The lonely streams, blue lakes serene, 
Wouldst thou these virgin haunts surrender 

For man's demesne ? 

Wouldst thou, for peaks where eagles gather, 
Where moon-white skies slow flush with 
Where, drenched with dew thy chieftain- 
Is far withdrawn — 

Wouldst thou all these exchange, giye over 
Thy wild free joys and all delights. 

Thy proud and passionate mountain-lover, 
Thy starry nights; 


The Man and the Centaur 

For that drear life in huddled places 
Where men like ants move to and fro 

Tired men, with ever on their faces 
The shadow of woe ? 

The Centaur 

I would not change — did nobthe waters 
'' Did not the winds, all living things 
Proclaim that we, the sons and daughters 
Of Time's first kings. 

That we must change and pass and perish 
Even as autumnal leaves that fall ; 

Even as the wind the hill-flowers cherish, 
At Winter's call : 

That we, even we, shovdd know no morrow, 

For as our body, so our soul : 
human, fair thy life of sorrow, 

Thou hast a Goal ! 



{OpeningJ^Fragment of a Lyrical Drama) 

Opening Scene : 
Verge of an upland glade among the Hima- 

Time : Sunrise 

First Faun 

. . . Hark ! I hear 
Aerial voices — 

Second Faun 
Whist ! 

First Faun 

It is the wind 
Leaping against the sunrise, on the heights. 

Second Faun 
No. no, yon mountain-springs — 

First Faun 

Hark, hark, oh, hark ! — 

Dionysos in India 

Second Faun 
Are budding into foam-flowers : see, they 

Laughing before the dawn — 

First Faun 

Oh, the sweet music ! 


{Timidly peeping over a cistus, uncurling 

into blooms.) 

Dear brother, say, oh say, what fills the air ? 

The leaves whisper, yet is not any wind : 

I am afraid. 

First Faun 
Be not afraid, dear child : 
There is no gloom. 

But silence : and— and — ^then. 
The birds have suddenly ceased : and see, 

The gossamer quivers where my startled 

hare — 
Slipt from my leash — cow'rs 'mid the fox- 
His eyes like pansies in a lonely wood ! 
Oh, I am afraid — afraid — ^though glad : — 

Dionysos in India 

Second Faun 

Why glad ? 

I know not. 

First Faun 
Never yet an evil god 
Forsook the dusk. Lo ! all our vales are 

With light : the darkest shimmers in pale 

blue : 
Nought is forlorn : no evil thing goeth by. 

Second Faun 
They say — 

First Faun 
What ? who ? 

Second Faun 
They of the hills : they say 
That a lost god — 

First Faun 

Hush, hush : beware ! 

Second Faun 

And why ? 
There is no god in the blue empty air ? 
Where else ? 


Dionysos in India 

First Faun 
There is a lifting up of joy : 
The morning moves in ecstasy. Never ! 
Oh, never fairer morning dawned than this. 
Somewhat is nigh ! 

Second Faun 

Maybe : and yet I hear 
Nought, save day's familiar sounds, nought 

But the sweet concourse of familiar things. 

First Faun 
Speak on, though never a single leaf but 

And, like the hollow shells o' the twisted nuts 
That fall in autumn, aye murmuringly holds 
The breath of bygone sound. We know not 

when — 
To whom— these little wavering tongues 

Our heedless words, wild wanderers though 

we be. 
What say the mountain-lords ? 

Second Faun 

That a lost god 
Fares hither through the dark, ever the dark. 

Dionysos in India 

First Faun 
What dark ? 

Second Faun 
Not the blank hollows of the night : 
Blind is he though a god : forgotten graves 
The cavernous depths of his oblivious eyes. 
His face is as the desert, blanched with ruins. 
His voice none ever heard, though whispers 

That in the dead of icy winters far 
Beyond the utmost peaks we ever clomb 
It hath gone forth — a deep, an awfvd woe. 

First Faun 
What seeks he ? 

Second Faun 
No one knoweth. 

And blind ! 

First Faun 

Yet a god. 

Second Faun 

Ay so : and I have heard beside 
That he is not as other gods ; but from vast 

So vast, that in his youth those hills were wet 
Withthetossed spume of each returning tide — 

Dionysos in India 

He hath lost knowledge of the things that 

All memory of what was, in that dim Past 
Which was old time for him ; and knoweth 

Nought feels, but inextinguishable pain. 
Titanic woe and burden of long aeons 
Of unrequited quest. 

First Faun 

But if he be 
Of the Immortal Brotherhood, though blind, 
How lost to them ? 

Second Faun 
I know not, I. 'Tis said — 
Lython the Centaur told me in those days 
When he had pity on me in his cave 
Far up among the hills — ^that the lost god 
Is curs'd of all his kin, and that his curse 
Lies like a cloud about their golden home : 
So evermore he goeth to and fro — 
The shadow of their glory . . . 

Ay, he knows 
The lost beginnings of the things that are : 
We are but morning-dreams to him, and 

But a fantastic shadow of the dawn : 
The very Gods seem children to his age, 

Dionysos in India 

Who reigned before their birth-throes filled 

the sky 
With the myriad shattered lights that are the 


First Faun 
Where reigned this ancient God ? 

Second Faun 

Old Lython said 
His kingdom was the Void, where evermore 
Silence sits throned upon Oblivion. 

First Faun 
What wants he here ? 

Second Faun 

He hateth Helios, 
And dogs his steps. None knoweth more. 

First Faun 

I heed no dotard god ! Behold, behold. 
My ears betrayed me not : Oh, hearken now ! 

Brother, O brother, all the birds are wild 
With song, and through the sun-splashed 

wood there goes 
A sound as of a multitude of wings. 

Dionysos in India 

Second Faun 
The sun, the sun ! the flowers in the grass ! 
Oh, the white glory ! 

First Faun 

'Tis the Virgin God ! 
Hark, hear the hymns that thrill the winds 

of mom. 
Wild paeans to the light ! The white 

processionals ! 
They come 1 They come ! . . . 



What is the song the sea-wind sings — 
The old, old song it singeth for aye ? 

When abroad it stretches its mighty wings 
And driveth the white clouds far away, — 
What is the song it sings to-day ? 

From fire and tumult the white world came, 
When all was a mist of driven spray 

And the whirling fragments of a frame ! 

What is the song the sea-wind sings — 
The old, old song it singeth for aye ? 

It seems to breathe a thousand things 
Ere the world grew sad and old and grey — 
Of the dear gods banished far astray — 

Of strange wild rumours of joy and shame ! 
The Earth is old, so old, To-day — 

Blind and halt and weary and lame. 

What is the song the sea-wind sings — 
The old, old song it singeth for aye ? 

Like a trumpet blast its voice out -rings. 
The world spins down the darksome way ! 
It crieth aloud in wild dismay, 
I 241 Q 

Ballad of the Song of the Sea-Wind 

The Earth that from fire and tumult came 
Draws swift to her weary end To-day, 
Her fires are fusing for that last Flame ! 

What singeth the sea-wind thus for aye, 

From fire and tumult the white world came I 
What is the sea-wind's cry To-day — 

Her central fires make one vast flame ! 





Where have I known thee, dear, in what 

strange place, 
Midst what caprices of our alien fate, 
Where have I bowed, worshipping this thy 

And hunger'd for thee, as now, insatiate ? 
Tell me, white soul, that through those 

starry veils 
Keep'st steadfast vigil o'er my wavering 

On what far sea trimm'd we our darkling 

When fell the shadow o'er that we now 

inherit ? 
Two tempest-driven souls were we, or glad 
With the young joy that recks of no to- 
morrow : 
Or were we as now inexplicably sad 
Before the coming twilight of new Sorrow ? 
Did our flesh quail as now this poor flesh 

Our faces blanch, as mine, as thine that 

pales ! 




Out of the valley of the Shadow of Death 
Who cometh, through the haunted Hollow 

Land ? 
On those tired lips of mine whose quickening 

In this long yearning clasp whose tremulous 

hand ? 
O, is it death or dream, madness, or what 
Fantastic torture of the chemic brain; 
That brings thee here, as thus, when all 

Thy body sleeps, as mine doth, free from 

pain ? 
What is the brooding word upon thy lips 
O beautiful image of my heart's desire ? 
What is the ominous shadow of eclipse 
That dusks those veiled eyes' redeeming 

O soul whom I from life to life have sought; 
What menace haunteth joy so dearly bought ? 




This menace : — of remembrance that must 

come : 
This menace : — of the waking that must be. 
O soul, let the rhythm of life itself grow 

And be the song of death our litany : 
Let the world perish as a perishing fire, 
For us be less than ashes without flame, 
So that we twain our last breath here 

Here where none uttereth word, none calleth 

For in the Hollow Land is utter peace, 
The magic spell which hath no first or last, 
But aU that never ceaseth here doth cease 
And what would know no death is long 

since past : 
Only one thing endures where all expire — 
The inviolate rapture of fulfilled desire. 




Where art thou, Love ! Lo, I am crucified 
Here on the bitter tree of my suspense, 
And my soul travails in my quivering side 
Wild with the passionate longing to go 

Where would it voyage, lost, bewildered 

If from the body's warm white home it 

strayed : 
Even as the wild-fox would it find its hole. 
Even as the fowls of the air would it find 

shade ? 
Yea, dear, with winnowing wings there 

would it fly 
To fold them on the whiteness of thy breast. 
And all its passion breathe into thy sigh. 
Fulfil the uttermost peace of perfect rest : 
And passing into thee as its last goal 
Should know no more this bitter-sweet 





Dear, through the silence comes a vibrant 

Thy voice, thy very voice it is, O Sweet ! 
Yet who shall scale the dread invisible wall 
That guards the Eden where our souls 

would meet ? 
O veil of flesh, O dull mortality. 
Is there no vision for the enfranchised eyes : 
Must we stoop low thro' Death's green- 
glooms to see 
The immaculate light known of our winged 

sighs ? 
Nay, Love, of body or soul no shadow or 

Can always, always, thee and me dispart ; 
Soul of my soul, thro' the very gates of 

Even as deep to deep, heart crieth to 

heart — 
Yea, as two moving waves on Life's wild 

We meet, we merge, we are one, I thou, 

thou me ! 




" And dost thou love me not a whit the 

less : 
And is thy heart as tremulous as of yore, 
And do thine eyes mirror the wonderful- 

And do thy lips retain their magic lore ? " 
What, Sweet, can these things be, ev'n in 

thy thought. 
And I so briefly gone, so swiftly come ? 
Nay, if the pulse of life its beat forgot 
This speaking heart would not thereby be 

I love thee, love thee so, O beautiful Hell 
That dost consume heart, brain, nerves, 

body, soul 
That even my immortal birthright I would 

Were Heaven to choose, or Thee, as my one 

Sweet love fulfilled, they say, the common 

lot ! 
He who speaks thus, of real love knoweth 





The dull day darkens to its close. The 

Of a myriad gas-jets lights the squalid night. 
There is no joy, it seems, but what hath 

been : 
There is nought left but semblance of 

Nay, is it so ? Down this long darkling 

What surety is there for the hungry heart, 
What vistas of white peace, rapt holiday 
Of the tired soul forlorn, thus kept apart ? 
Oh, hearken, hearken, love ! I cannot 

wait : 
Drear is the night without, the night within : 
I am so tired, so tired, so baffled of our 

The very sport it seems of our sweet sin : 
Oh, open, open now, and bid me stay. 
Who almost am too tired, too weak, to 





And so, is it so ? the long sweet pain is 

over ? 
The dear familiar love must know a change ? 
No more am I, no more, to be your lover, 
But life be cold once more, and drear, and 

We have sinned, you say, and sorrow must 

All the cruel largess of our passionate love, 
And we, at the last, content us with a 

Who have known a hell below, a heaven 

above ! 
Well, be it so : thy life I shall not darken : 
Thy dream, for me, shall be disturbed no 

more : 
Thine ears, by day or night, shall never 

The coming of the steps thou lovedst of 

yore : 
And if, afar, a lost wild soul blaspheme. 
Thou shalt not know it in thy peace supreme. 




When the dark falls, and as a single star 
The orient planets blend in one bright ray 
A-quiver through the violet shadows far 
Where the rose-red still lingers 'mid the 

And when the moon, half-cirque around her 

Casts on the upland pastures shimmer of 

green : 
And the marsh-meteors the frail lightnings 

And wave lapse into wave with amber 

sheen — 

O then my heart is full of thee, who never 
From out thy beavitiful mysterious eyes 
Givest one glance at this my wild endeavour. 
Who hast no heed, no heed, of all my sighs : 
Is it so well with thee in thy high place 
That thou canst mock me thus even to my 
face ? 


An Untold Story 


Dull ash-grey frost upon the black-grey fields: 
Thick wreaths of tortured smoke above the 

town : 
The chill impervious fog no foothold yields, 
But onward draws its shroud of yellow 


No star can pierce the gloom, no moon 

dispart : 
And I am lonely here, and scarcely know 
What mockery is " death from a broken 

What tragic pity in the one word : Woe. 

But I am free of thee, at least, yea free ! 

No more thy bondager 'twixt heaven and 

No more there numbs, no more there 
shroudeth me 

The paralysing horror of thy spell : 

No more win'st thou this last frail wor- 
shipping breath. 

For twice dead he who dies this second 



Three veils of Silence, Summer draws 

The noon-tide Peace that broods on hill and 

That passes o'er the sea and leaves no trace. 

That sleeps in the moveless clouds' move- 
less trail : 

The wave of colour deepening day by day. 
The yellow grown to purple on the leas, 
Blue within there beyond the dusky ways ; 
A green-gloom dusk within the grass-green 

The third veil no man sees. She weaves it 

Beneath the fret and fume tired hearts 

And long for some divine impossible air. 
Out of Man's heart she weaves this veil of 

Sweet anodyne for all the feverish quest 
And ache of inarticulate Desire. 


Sweet are white dreams i' the dusk, yet 

sweeter far 
When the sea-music fills those haunting 

dreams : 
When light survives alone in each white star 
And in the far white shine of a myriad 

gleams : 
When from white flowers, that through the 

violet gloom 
Shine faintly phosphorescent, strange 

breaths steal 
And in the lamp-lit silence of the room 
The longing, yearning soul makes mute 

appeal : 
When nought is heard, and yet the tired 

hands stray 
To meet white dream-like hands soft floating 

When the disanchor'd mind sails far away 
'Mid the suspense of an imagined sigh — 
'Tis thee, 'tis thee, O dear white soul, 'tis 

White Joy, white Peace, white Balm that 

healeth me ! 



Amber and yellow and russet, gold and red. 
The autumnal leaves dream they are summer 

flowers : 
Day after day the windless sunny hours 
With feet of flame pass softly overhead : 

Day after day over each perishing leaf 
The windless hours pass with slow-fading 

flame : 
No song is heard where floods of music 

came ; 
Long gamer'd on the fields the final sheaf. 

One day a wild and ravishing wind will rise, 
One day a paralysing frost will come. 
And all this glory be taken unaware : 
Dark branches then will lean against the 

Sear leaves will drift the forest-pathways 

And wold and woodland lie, austere and 




The herald redbreast sings his winter lays. 
The fieldfares drift in flocks adown the 

weald : 
The turbulent rooks gather on every field, 
And clamorous starlings dare our garden- 
ways : 

O beautiful garden-ways, not grown less 

Because the rose has gone, and briony waves 
Where lily and purple iris have their graves. 
Or that , where violets were, the asters rear. 

Lo, what a sheen of colour lingers still. 
Though the autumnal rains and frost be 

come : 
The tall dishevelled sunflowers, stooping, 

Lost rays of sunshine o'er the tangled 

While everywhere, touched with a glory of 

Flaunts the imperial chrysanthemum. 



The goddess slept. About her where she lay 
Dead pansies, fragrant still, and the myriad 

rose : 
Adream 'mid the fallen drift, she woke one 

And the blooms stirred, seeing her eyes 


The oaks and beeches stood in disarray. 
Gaunt, spectral, dark, in dismal phantom 

rows ; 
She smiled, and there was a shimmer 'mid 

the grey 
And sudden fall of the first winter-snows. 

But when, tired with the icy blossoms of the 

She slept once more, and all the snow was 

She dreamed of Spring and saw his sunlit 

And heard the whisper of her laughing 

lover : 
But while she dreamed, the dead blooms 

had grown fair 
And Christmas-roses made a veil above her. 




From oversea — 

Violets for memories, 
I send to thee ; 

Let them bear thoughts of me. 
With pleasant memories 

To touch the heart of thee. 
Far oversea, 

A little way it is for love to flee. 

Love wing'd with memories, 
Hither to thither oversea. 



Love in my heart : oh, heart of me, heart 
of me ! 
Love is my tyrant, Love is supreme. 
What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart 
of me ! 
Love is a phantom, and Life is a dream ! 

What if he changeth, oh, heart of me, heart 
of me ! 

Oh, can the waters be void of the wind ? 
What if he wendeth afar and apart from me, 

What if he leave me to perish behind ? 

What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart 
of me ! 
A flame i' the dusk, a breath of Desire ? 
Nay, my sweet Love is the heart and the 
soul of me 
And I am the innermost heart of his 

Love in my heart : oh, heart of me, heart 
of me ! 
Love is my tyrant. Love is supreme. 
What if he passeth, oh, heart of me, heart 
of me ! 
Love is a phantom, and Life is a dream ! 


Low laughing, blithely scorning — 
Beware, beware, of flaming wings. 
Love hunts thee down the morning ! 

His white feet dip i' the hillside springs. 
He mocks thy flying terror ! 
The woodland with his laughter rings ! 

He'll make thee his slave to follow. 
Nor shall he forgive thee, maid, thine error, 
Who spied thee hid in the hollow. 

Too late, too late the warning ! 
Behold the flash of flaming wings — 
Love hath thee now i' the morning ! 



O wild bee humming in the gorse, 
O wild dove croodling in the woods, 

Know ye not she is false as fair, 
A sweet Caprice with bitter moods ? 

For bitter-sweet her wild kiss is. 
And bitter-sweet her haunting voice : 

How oft my eyes have filled with tears 
When she hath bid me to rejoice ! 

loved Caprice, is thine the fault 
Or is the bitterness all mine ! 

Art thou the quenchless Thirst of Joy 
And I the lees of thy spilt wine ? 

Oh, greenness, greenness everywhere. 
Oh, whisper of green leaves, green grass. 

Surely the glory is not gone. 
Surely the glory shall not pass ? 

1 long for some lost magic thing, 
A voice, a gleam, a joy, a pain : 

Wild doves, your old-time strain once more, 
Wild bees, wild bees, come back again ! 



Like flame-wing'd harps the seed blooms lie 

Amid the shadowy sycamores. 
The music of each leaflet's sigh 
Thrills them continually, 

The small harps of. the sycamores. 

Small birds innumerable find rest 
And shelter 'midst the sycamores. 

Their songs (of love in a warm soft nest) 

Are faintly echoed east and west 
By the red harps o' the sycamores. 

The dewfall and the starshine make 
Amidst the shadowy sycamores 

Sweet delicate strains ; the gold beams 

The leaves at mom, and swift awake 
The small harps of the sycamores. 

sweet Earth's- music everywhere. 
Though faint as in the sycamores : 

Sweet when buds burst, birds pair ; 

Sweet when as thus there wave in the air 
The red harps of the sycamores. 



The Spirit of Spring is in the air ; 

The daffodils wave blithe and free 

To the wind's minstrelsy, 
And everywhere 
A green rebirth involves each branchlet bare. 

Already from the elm-tree boughs 
The jubilant thrush doth cry aloud ; 
From fallow fields new ploughed 
The plovers rouse ; 
In hollow boles no more the squirrels 

The blackbird calls his thrilling note ; 
And by each field, and copse, and glade 
The leverets race, the rabbits raid ; 
Where gorse-blooms float 

The yellow-yite pipes o'er and o'er by rote. 

In the blue arch of sky, cloud-swept, 
The unseen larks are singing ; 
The green grass is springing : 
While nature slept, 
Leaf-crown'd, bird-haunted Spring hath 
hither leapt. 


spring's Advent 

O joy of winds, and birds, and flowers, 
Of growing grass, of budding leaves. 
Of green and sappy sheaves. 
Of rustling showers, 
Sunshine, and plenitude of marvellous 

Thrilled Earth beholds her golden prime 
Returned again ; her heart beats swift. 
Low-laughing, as the spring winds lift 
Their songs sublime. 
Mocking, she dares the circling Shadow of 



The bugling of the summer wind 

Is sweet upon the hill : 
I love to hear its eddies 

The heather-crannies fill. 

It plays upon the bracken 

A blithe fanfarronade : 
And thro' the moss-cups whistleth 

" The Fairy Raid." 

It leaps from birch to rowan, 
And laugheth long and loud, 

Then with a spring is vanished, 
And rideth on a cloud t 



There is a little brook, 

I love it well : 

It hath so sweet a sound 

That even in dreams my ears could tell 

Its music anywhere. 

Often I wander there, 

And leave my book 

Unread upon the ground. 

Eager to quell 

In the hush'd air 

That haunts its flowing forehead fair 

All that about my heart hath wound 

A trouble of care : 

Or, it may be, idly to spell 

Its runic music rare 

And with its singing soul to share 

Its ancient lore profound : 

For sweet it is to be the echoing shell 

That lists and inly keeps that murmurous 

About it all day long 
In this June-tide 


The Hill Water 

There is a myriad song. 

From every side 

There comes a breath, a hum, a voice : 

The hill-wind fans it with a pleasant noise 

As of sweet rustling things 

That move on unseen wings, 

And from the pinewood near 

A floating whisper oftentimes I hear. 

As when, o'er pastoral meadows wide; 

Stealeth the drowsy music of a weir. 

The green reeds bend above it. 

The soft green grasses stoop and trail 

therein : 
The minnows dart and spin : 
The purple-gleaming swallows love it : 
And, hush, its innermost depth within, 
The vague prophetic murmur of the linn. 

But not in summer-tide alone 
I love to look 

Upon this rippling water in my glen : 
Most sweet, most dear, my brook, 
And most my own. 

When the grey mists shroud every ben. 
And in its quiet place 
The stream doth bare her face. 
And lets me pore deep down into her eyes, 
Her eyes of shadowy grey, 
Wherein from day to day 

The Hill Water 

My soul is startled with a new surmise, 
Or doth some subtler meaning trace 
Reflected from unseen invisible skies. 

Dear mountain-solitary, dear lonely brook. 
Of hillside rains and dews the vagrant 

Sweet, sweet, thy music when I bend above 

When in thy fugitive face I look ; 
Yet not the less I love thee. 
When, far away, and absent from thee long, 
I yearn, my dark hill-water, 
I yearn, I strain to hear thy song. 
Brown, wandering water. 
Dear, murmuring water ! 



To-day upon the hillside 

I saw a golden fairy ; 
Her name is Rainbow- Shimmer, 

But for you and me she's Mary. 

For Mary is the mother 
Of all sweet souls that be, 

From the angels in heaven 
To the best fish in the sea. 

And of all sweet souls that are, 

Fairies are the rarest, 
And Mary was a star 

Among the fairest. 

She had a golden kingcup 

Her little golden head, 
For dress she had a daisy white 

Just tipped with red. 

She danced upon a clover leaf 

Still ashine with dew 
And the blue sky above was not 

As her blue eyes so blue. 


Her partner was a sunbeam, 
A partner wild and wary, 
Whose reel might even tire 
, The patience of a fairy. 

Ah, how the two went dancing 
Among the dewy clover ; 

I would that you were Mary 
And I your sunbeam lover I 

" Stop, Mary, stop," I whisperedj 
" Be not so wild and wary, 

I know a little lassie 
Who'd dearly love a fairy ! " 

But in a twink she vanished. 
The dewshine dance was over 1 

Ah, her twinkling laughter 
With her sunbeam lover ! 

But, hush ! Her hiding-place 

Is not so far apart : 
I'll tell you where it is, dear. 

It's deep in Mother's heart. 



Out on the waste, a little lonely bird, I flit 

and I sing ; 
My breast is yellow as sunshine, and light 

as the wind my wing. 

The golden gorse me shelters, in the tufted 

grass is my nest. 
And Sweet, sweet, sweet the world, though 

the wind blow east or west. 

The harebells chime their music, the canna 

floats white in the breeze : 
But as for me, I flit to and fro and I sing at 

my ease. 

When the thyme is dripping with dew, and 

the hill-wind beareth along 
The pungent scent of the gale, loudly I sing 

my morning song. 

When the sun beats on the gorse, the broom, 

and the budding heather, 
I flit from spray to spray, and my song is of 

the golden weather. 

The Yellowhammer's Song 

When the moor-fowl sink to their rest, and 

the sky is soft rose-red, 
I sing of the crescent moon and the single 

star overhead. 

Out on the waste, out on the waste, I flit 

all day as I sing, 
Sweet, sweet, sweet is the world — dear world — 

how beautiful everything ! 

Only a little lonely bird that loveth the 

moorland waste. 
And little perhaps of the joy of the world 

is that which I taste ; 

But out on the wild, free moorlands or the 

gold gorse-boughs I swing; 
And Sweet, sweet, sweet the world ; oh, sweet ! 

ah, sweet ! the song that I sing. 



King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea, 
When thou sweepest abroad thy voice 

Crieth the anguish of living souls 
As with the wild storm-rapt soughing of the 


Breath of the world, hitter breath, 
King of the winds, Wind of the Sea ! 

King of the winds, Wind of the Sea, 
Hitherward blow, by our doors, through 

our souls. 
Blow, blow, Euroclydon . . . and as dead 

Whirl seaward vain hopes and perishing 


Breath of the world, hitter breath. 
King of the winds, Wind of the Sea ! 

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea, 
Uphft us, resurge us out with thy waves, 

The Song of the Sea-Wind 

Out on thine infinite heaving breast 
Where not a wave breaks but is higher than 

Breath of the world, bitter breath, 
King of the winds, Wind of the Sea ! 

King of the winds, O Wind of the Sea, 
In the sweep and shadow of mighty wings 
Whirl far this Dream that is life, afar 
To the Shores of Joy or the Coasts of Night. 

Breath of the world, bitter breath. 
King of the winds, Wind of the Sea ! 

King of the winds, Wind of the Sea, 
Before thee my heart bows, for it may be 

that God — 
Yea, that it is Thee, O God, who passeth by. 
Voicing Thy Word to our souls out of 

infinite space — 

Eternal Breath, bitter-sweet Breath, 
Lord of all winds, Wind of the Sea I 



Roses, roses, 
Yellow and red ; 
A rose for the living, 
A rose for the dead ! 
Who'll sip their dew ? 
There are only a few 
Of the yellow and red : 
Youth sells its roses 
Ere youth is sped. 

Roses, roses. 
All for delight ; 
What of the night ? 
Hark, the tramp, tramp. 
The scabbard's clamp. 
The flaring lamp ! 
Where is the morning dew ? 
Ah, only a few 
Drank ere the yellow and red 
Lay shrivelled, shrivelled. 
Over the dead. 

Spanish Roses 

Roses, roses, 

Buy, oh buy. 

The years fly; 

'Tis the time of roses. 

Here are posies 

For one and all. 

For lovers that sigh 

And for lovers that die : 

And for Love's pall 

And burial ! 

Roses, roses, roses, buy, buy, oh buy ! 
Why delay, why delay, roses also die. 
Pink and yellow, blood-red, snow-white, 
Roses for dayspring, roses for night ! 

Buy, buy, oh my roses buy ! 

A kiss for a kiss, and a sigh for a sigh ! 



{A Dionysiac Legend) 

The sun leapt up the rose-flushed sky 
And yellowed all the sea's pale blue ; 
The Tyrrhene crew 
Uprose and hailed the God on high.. 

But Dionysos made no sign : 
The shipmen hailed their Lord again, 
Acclaimed His reign. 
Then stared upon their guest divine. 

" The deep shall swallow thee, fair sir : 
The sea-things shall make thee their 
The God obey 
Or meet swift death ere thou canst stir ! " 

" Ere ye arose, my spirit bowed 
To the Great God unrisen then : — 
Take heed, men, 
Your clamour grow not overloud." 

The Sea-Born Vine 

" A priest of Bacchus thou ! Behold : 
On sea-wave here could whelm thy God — 
His mystic rod 
Would float foam-crown'd 'mid this wave- 

" Ai Evoe ! Thy voice might fill 
The waste of sea, the waste of sky, 
Yet thou wouldst die. 
Thy god supine on some green hill ! " 

Ai Evoe ! The cry thrilled wide : 
The startled rowers shrank — ^they saw 
With trembling awe 
The conscious waters surge aside. 

Ai Evoe ! The waves turn green ; 
In tendril masses twist and twine 
A mighty vine 
Uprises and o'erhead doth lean : 

Ai Evoe ! The tendrils cling 
About the shipmen as they swim 
The Bacchic hymn 
The waves chant and the wild winds sing. 

Evoe ! Dionysos cries, 
The seamen and the boat no more 
The shingly shore 
Shall feel 'neath known or alien skies. 

The Sea-Born Vine 

Blue dolphins guide the wave-born vine 
To caves near mystic Ind : 
Only the wind 
Murmurs for aye the tale divine. 

Ye who deride the gods, beware : 
They are with us evermore ; they brook 
No scornful look ; 
Their vengeance fills our mortal air. 

Yea, of the jealous gods, take heed : 
One day the earth or sea shall ope 
And vanquish hope — 
Ai Evoe be vain indeed ! 



Exspirare rosas, decrescere lilia vidi . . . 


Along the faint shores of the foamless gulf 
I see pale lilies droop, wan roses fall, 
And Silence stilling the uplifted wave. 

And in the movement of the uplifted wave. 
And ere the rose fall, or the lily breathe. 
Silence becomes a lonely voice, like hers, 
Venilia's, who when love was given wings 
And far off flight, mourned ceaseless as a 

Till bitter Circe made her but a voice 
Still lingering as a fragrance in dim woods 
When on the gay wind swims the yellow 




The yellow moon is a dancing phantom 

Down secret ways of the flowing shade ; 
And the waveless stream has a murmuring 
Where the alders wave. 

Not a breath, not a sigh, save the slow 
stream's whisper : 
Only the moon is a dancing blade 
That leads a host of the Crescent warriors 
To a phantom raid. 

Out of the Lands of Faerie a summons, 
A long, strange cry that thrills through 
the glade : — 
The grey-green glooms of the elm are 
Newly afraid. 

Last heard, white music, under the olives 

Where once Theocritus sang and played — 
Thy Thracian song is the old new wonder 
O moon-white maid ! 


{In Memoriam. — E. Z.) 

In the great days men heard afar the clarions 

of Hope rejoice : 
The hearts of men were shaken as reeds by 

the wind of a Voice. 
But now the roll of muffled drums drowns 

'mid the last Retreat 
The wild fanfare of perishing hopes, the 

tramp of passing feet . 

The winds of heaven are banners lost, are 

pennons of dismay ; 
The innumerous legion of the sun toils on 

in disarray ; 
The moon that carries freight of gold to 

ransom forth the mom 
Sails desolate beneath a myriad starry eyes 

of scorn. 

Wild rhetoric, yes : but who shall say what 

metaphors of pain 
Are fit for the funeral dirge of a Repubhc 

slain ? 


The Dirge of the Republic 

High hopes, faiths, dreams, great passions, 

Prove but the trodden, useless, bitter dust of 

weary nations ! 

That which was great is fallen, that which 

was high is low : 
The rising star has sunk again, but in a 

blood-red glow : 
The hundred thousand souls that died before 

the golden prime. 
Did well, for it is well to miss the Ironies of 


Faith, Honour, Love, the Noble and the 

These lofty words are pawns of an ignoble 

crew : 
How better far to light the Torch with 

flames of cheap desire 
Than thus to mock the eyes of man with 

stolen fire ! 

There is no State broad-based enough upon 

the People's heart 
That some day may not hunted be by the 

People's dart : 


The Dirge of the Republic 

The rebel nerves, the rebel lusts, the rebel 

hounds of hfe — 
If these be loosened from the whip they 

turn to fratricidal strife. 

Is this the end of all high dreams above 

thrones trampled under ? 
Is this the tinsel chorus left after the noble 

thunder ? 
'Twere better, then, than thus to live, thus 

forfeit high renown. 
To be true men, and free, " beneath the 

shadow of a Crown " ! 



{A Death in the West Highlands) 

Ungather'd lie the peats upon the moss ; 
No more is heard the shaggy pony's hoof ; 
The thin smoke curls no more above the 
roof ; 
Unused the brown-sailed boat doth idly 

At anchor in the Kyle ; and all across 
The strath the collie scours without 

reproof ; 
The gather'd sheep stand wonderingly 
aloof ; 
And everywhere there is a sense of loss. 
" Has Sheumais left for over sea ? Nay, 
A se'nnight since a gloom came over him ; 
He sicken'd, and his gaze grew vague and 
dim ; 
Three days ago we found he did not stir. 
He has gone into the Silence. 'Neath yon 
He lies, and waits the Lord in darkness 



There's the hill-road to Ardmore, Mary, 
Here's the glen-road to Ardstrae : 

Your home is younder, Mary, 
And mine lies this way. 

Will you come by the glen, Mary, 
Or go the hill-road to Ardmore ? 

It is now and as you will, Mary, 
For I will ask no more. 

'Tis but a score years, Mary, 
Since I bade you to Ardstrae ; 

And now you are not there, Mary 
Nor walk the hill-side way. 

Is it only a score years, Mary, 
Since we parted by the shore. 

And I watched you go, Mary, 
By the hill-road to Ardmore ? 



Far in the inland valleys 
The Spring her secret tells ; 

The roses lift on the bushes. 
The lilies shake their bells. 

To a lily of the valley 

A white rose leans from above : 
" Little white flower o' the valley. 

Come up and be my love." 

To the lily of the valley 
A speedwell whispers, " No I 

Where the roses live are thorns; 
'Tis safe below." 

The lily clomb to the rose-bush, 

A thorn in her side : 
The white rose has wedded a red rose. 

And the lily died. 



Only a song of joy 

Wind-blown over the heather. 
Somewhere two little hearts 

Thrill and throb together. 

Ah, far 'mid the nethermost spheres 

Life and Death live together ; 
And deep is their love, without tears, 
For they laugh at the shadows of years- 
And yet there rings in my ears 
Only a song of joy 
Wind-blown over the heather. 



The west wind lifts the plumes of the fir, 

The west wind swings on the pine ; 
In the sun-and-shadow the cushats stir ; 
For the breath of Spring is a wine 
That fills the wood, 
That thrills the blood, 
When the glad March sun doth shine, 

Once more. 
When the glad March sun doth shine. 

When the strong May sun is a song, a song, 

A song in the good green world, 
Then the little green leaves wax long 

And the little fern-fronds are uncvirl'd ; 

The banners of green are all unfurl'd. 
And the wind goes marching along, along, 
The wind goes marching along 

The good green world. 



A maid forsaken 

A white prayer offered 
Under the snow of the apple-blossom : 

To whom was it proffered ? 
By whom was it taken ? 
Well, I suppose 
Nobody knows. 

But somehow, the snows 
Of the apple-blossom 

Were changed one day. 
A kiss was offered, 
A kiss was taken : 
And lo ! when the maiden looked shyly 
Of bloom of the apple the boughs were 
forsaken ! 
But whiter and sweeter grew orange- 
blossom I 
Now this is quite true, I say, 
And it happened in May. 



Down through the thicket, out of the 
A ripple of music singeth a tune . . . 
Like water that falls 
From mossy ledges 
With a soft low croon : 
It will cease ! 
No, it falls but to rise — ^but to rise — but 
to rise I 
It is over the thickets, it leaps in the trees. 
It swims like a star in the purple-black 
skies I 
Ah, once again. 
With its rapture and pain, 
The nightingale singeth under the moon ! 



" Sing a song of blossom," 
Said little Marjory Brown : 
" Why won't it come down. 
Here in the town, 
Please ? " 
Said little Marjory Brown. 

" Please, 
Wind, blow just a breath, for me 
To see 
The great white apple-blossoms blow 
Just like snow — 
Just like snow in our garden before we 
Came back to town," 
Said little Marjory Brown. 

All day and all night 
A wind did blow, 

Marjory laughed at the flying snow 
And its whirling riot : 
But at dawn she grew wan and white, 

And was quiet. 
And the doctor said. 
With his hand on a bowed sobbing head, 
" Too late you came up to town 
With little Marjory Brown." 


A thousand poets have sung the Rose, 
The daisy white, the heather, 
The green grass we he on 
In summer weather . . . 
Of almost every flower that grows. 

But never of the Dandehon, 
That the winds of Spring have scattered 
hither and thither ! 

Is there any more fair to see 
Than this bright fellow 

Who, also, " takes the winds of March 
with beauty " ? 
True his coat in a vulgar yellow. 
And his is a very humble duty . . . 
Merely to be 
As joyous as a wave on the sea, 
A wave dancing on the great sea, — 
Merely to be bright, sunshiny, glad, strong, 
and free. 
As free as a beggar, as proud as a king ! 

The Dandelion 

And so, quite as good as the Rose, 
The daisy white, the heather. 

The green grass we lie on 
In summer weather. 
Is that flame of the feet of Spring, 
The Dandelion ! 



(Written for Music) 

When, like a sleeping child 

Or a bird in the nest, 
The day is gathered 

To the earth's breast . . . 
Hush ! . . . 'tis the Dream- Wind, 
Breathing peace, 
Breathing rest, 
Out of the Gardens of Sleep in the West. 

Oh, come to me, wandering 

Wind of the West ! 
Grey doves of slumber 

Come hither to rest ! . . . 
Hush ! . . . now the wings cease 
Below the dim trees . . . 
And the White Rose of Rest 
Breathes low in the Gardens of Sleep in the 



From the Silence of Time, Time's Silence 

In the heart of To-day is the word of To- 

The Builders of Joy are the Children of 



He laughed at Life's Sunset Gates 
With vanishing breath : 

Glad soul, who went with the Sun 
To the Sunrise of Death. 





An ancient solitary temple of Persephoneia by 
the sea. A dull sunset, burning slowly 
over Hybla. Melkos, an old blind priest, 
attended by a boy. A brazen glow rests 
on Etna, whence issues a thin column of 
dusky smoke filled at times with a tongue 
of red flame. 


The old dull whisper of the unceasing wave. 

[Sighing.l The slow sound of the unceasing 

[Displaces a stone with his foot. 

Out of these shadowy hollows of the ocean 

Troop the grey dreams that plague the 
minds of men. 

Far off Hadranos hears : Enkelados 

Puts forth his hands and shapes the sound 
to thought : 

And on her lonely Mount where the sunset 

Hybla remoulds in pale invisible flame. 

[The boy idly plays a note or two. 
I 305 u 


I am too old to fear these Holy Onesi 
Hybla Beneficent, why should one fear 
The Twilight Goddess, bom where the 

Evening star 
Hangs o'er the abyss where swims the 

unrisen moon. 
HadrEinos loves us not, but hates us not : 
Though dreadful to men's ears the baying 

of the hounds 
That night and day, a thousandfold, 

His sacred temple with a surge of sound. 
Rather the man I fear, the Titan-slave, 
Who hates the sovran powers who hold him 

And hugs a secret that no god doth know, 
Save only her, Demeter, when the frenzy 
Terribly moves her calm to dreadful storm — 
And him, Poseidon, when in his shell-strewn 

Deep in the dim green silences he moans 
Remembering . .^ . him rather do I fear, 
Enkelados, the Helot of the Gods. 

[The boy half raises himself, looks 
toward the ancient temple. 


Why do you stir, Neanthes ? Does the light 

From off Hyblaean hill draw near the roof ? 



The she-goat browsing 'mid the yellow 

Yonder, where the lava crouches like a 

Nailed to a thorn, looked suddenly up and 

Her ears swung like figs in the wind, and her 

Bent, and she shrank shivering to the 

[He sinks again, and plays a few notes 
on his reed pipe. 

That slow sound of the unceasing wave. 

For ages 
These watery fangs have gnawed and torn 

the shore. 

[Again displaces a stone with his foot. 
When I was young I sailed three days and 

Southward three days when the great God 

drowned in fire, 
Southward three nights When lost amid pale 

The half-moon waned, and never land I saw, 
Nor hving thing, save a shadow in the 




Where overhead a white-winged sea-hawk 

And on the morrow of the fourth I heard 
The stifled laughters of a hidden folk, 
Hoarse murmurings, a dull tumultuous haste, 
With sad sea-voices full of lamentation. 
And a single voice that knew not any peace. 

{Listlessly, without looking up. 
Who were these creatures of the salt south 
sea ? 

Out of the depths they came, I know not 

Or what. Poseidon's offspring, they, who 

A green and dreadful rumour through the 


Fair is the falling wave, and fair 
The paven green sea-halls. 
And one who sleepeth sound is sleeping there. 

And as in some old dream that swims un- 
Intp the unwilling mind, I know once more 


The old fear I felt, and all the horror of 

When out of the foam and the seas and the 

I heard a voice of vengeance and of wrath 
And heard Poseidon calling on the shade 
Of that most sacred, dread, and nameless 

Who lives below the root of ancient slime 
Left by forgotten seas and the most deepset 

Enkelados hath watched, Hadranos seen. 
Leaning o'er midnight chasms fUl'd witl 

Loudly he called, and billow on billow leapt ; 
Louder, and seas rose, and fell upon seas ; 
Loudlier, till the shaken watery domes 
That moved as a falling city on Etna moves, 
Crag-slipt to gulfs of fathomless abyss, 
I saw far-off steadfast stars involved. 
Spun round like dust about a chariot wheel. 
And all the anguish of his cry was filled 
With one name only — hers, whom he begat 
A thousand thousand years ago, on her 
The stem implacable guardian of mankind 
Demeter-Erinnys, on whose name be peace. 
That name alone I heard. . . Persephoneia. 

[Neanthes again raises himself, looking 
towards the ancient temple. 


Does the light fall from off the Hyblsean 
hill, Neanthes ? 

Three sea-birds dripping from the foam 
Wheeled inland, yonder where the spotted 

Has made her lair under the asphodels, 
And one by one withered in fright, and flung 
Heavily downward, and all three lie dead. 

[Again to himself, unheeding the boy. 
And when like a snowflake blindly up- 
whirled and borne 
My frail boat sung from one gulf to another, 
And I lay breathless, dead, as one long dead, 
Blind, deaf, dumb, senseless, without hope 

or fear, 
Who ploughed the furrow of my flying keel ? 
That thing I do not know, nor how I escaped 
A peril more dire than that which waits for 

For Cumae bound when Zankle sinks behind. 
But on one desolate morrow my grey lips 
Knew rain, and all my weary flesh was healed 
With warmth and peace, at the coming of a 



Leaning from heaven on the lapping waters, 
And from the violet hollows heavenward 

And that day, in the hush of afternoon, 
I heard a shoreward sighing of the sea 
And in my nostrils was the blessed smell 
Of grass and earth and trees : so lifting me, 
And having made my prayer of thankfulness 
To him, the lord Poseidon of the Deep, 
I looked . . . and saw a melancholy shore, 
A long low lifeless melancholy shore, 
Wherefrom, an infinite way, the world 

Leaning gigantic . . . the vast womb of her, 
The Mother Mountain, and, purpling in the 

Hybla I saw, the Holy Hill : and else. 
No single home wherefrom the blue smoke 

But this I saw with dread, that ancient 

Hearthless and faded stood among grey 

And a gaunt bridge hung broken o'er the bed 
Of a great river where no water ran. 
And old-time gardens all unwall'd, un- 
Were green with noisome growth, and fruit- 
less, drear. 



Some fallen columns lay upon the sand 
Whereon the lizards fled, and in one place 
I saw the image of an unknown God 
Within whose cavernous ruin the adder 

Near by, erect, unshaken, stood a fane 
Even that by which this solitary eve 
I stand in these my blind and listless years — 
Fearing so little, with so little hope. 
Yet dimly seeing in the far-off law 
The shaping of divine perfected things. 
Most drear and solitary it rose thereby, 
The columns held the vast grey slab of roof 
That still they hold, in whose wind-haunted 

The sea-crows built, with melancholy cries 
Lifting black wings at sundown and at dawn. 
But on that dayset, from the midmost rose 
A thin and wavering column of spiced smoke 
Such as from altars rise, fragrant with gums, 
With wine and frankincense, where gods are 

known ; 
And even as I watched, the purple bloom 
That Hybla wore, as a priestess wears a robe. 
So that the woman and the robe are one. 
Took fire : or rather, far below, a sea of 

Swung from its ebb, and with a mighty sigh 
From dim abysms reached a fiery crest, 


The conflagration of whose soundless life 
Changed Hybla to a molten brazen mass. 
Therefrom a concentrated stream of light 
Poured near the desolate fane ; but as the 

Sank sighing to the underworld his hand 
Lingered a brief while here : and the pale 

Spired suddenly like the crimson breath of 


\The hoy again raises himself, looking 
towards the ancient temple. 
Does the light fall from of the Hyblaean 

hill, Neanthes ? 


A little breath of smoke 
Rose from the broken terrace near the 

No more than from the white ox idly 

When with wet lips he tastes the morning 

And then ? 

A sudden noisy whirl of sparrows 
Scattered like leaves around the seaward 
columns : 



And even as I looked, like leaves they 

Falling and fallen, and now strewn deep they 


[Turning his face seaward again. 
And even as the curling breath of roses 
Wavered again to pale aerial smoke. 
Even in that moment I beheld a woman 
Standing in silence on the ruin'd terrace 
That downward reaches to the lifting wave 
Oozy with slimy frondage of the sea. 
So tall she was, so noble of mien, so great 
In the perfected beauty of repose. 
That for a moment all my thoughts beheld 
A flawless statue simulating life. 
Most pale, most terrible her awful face. 
The dark hair lay adown it in great clusters. 
Like to the wild vine on the ashy cliff 
That on iEtnean Inessa bears the grape 
Wherefrom the grey priests of Demeter brew 
A fatal juice. The sadness of the hills 
Crowned the sheer lonely height that was 

her forehead. 
The immemorial whisper of the sea_ 
Inhabited the silence of her face : 
And in the flamelit darkness of her 'eyes 
The melancholy of forgotten things 
Was like a rainy dusk in the inlands drear. 


In stillness she stood there, immovable. 
As Twilight stands in the passes of the hills 
When the Noon lifts her blazing wing and 

Behind the incurring, blank, precipitous 

Then well I knew a goddess I beheld. 

A Voice 
O bitter and terrible love of the wave for 
the wind, 
Of the north for the flame. 
And the love and the joy and the glory half 
left behind 
For the mockery of a name. 

What words were these : what bitter song 

from the sea. 
Out of the hills, or lifted from the slain ? 


Only the wind I heard, and a sigh from the 

It is gone now, and the far-off sea is still. 

[Again turning his face to the sea. 
Then I knew a goddess I beheld. 

[A pause. 


But sad she was, more sad than I had 

The high immortal ones Could ever be. 
And while I looked I saw that in one hand 
A cluster of flowers she held, anemones 
Wine-dark in hue, the sunbright celandine 
And poppies heavy in a downward flame, 
With pale green blossoms of the yellow 

But even as I looked a withering came 
Like a grey bloom upon them, and that 

Dusked into ash, and in grey ash they fell 
Making an eddy of dust before her feet. 
Then a wild dove with sudden clamorous 

Batted the still air of the dreadful peace ; 
Circling about her, come I know not whence ; 
But even as I looked the grey wing sank 
And as a falling dust the cushat fell. 

[A pause. 
Then all my soul rose up in me, and knew 
Persephoneia. [A pause. 

And at that dreadful name. 
Bom on my lips as dawn on a moving wave, 
The dark gulfs of her dreadful beautiful 

Turned slowly upon mine, wherefrom the 




Ebbed, as the withdrawing gleam ebbs from 

a pool 
On sundown sands when the seas grow 

suddenly pale. 
From that day unto this I have not seen 
Goddess nor mortal, maid nor mortal man : 
No, nor the grey stairs of Poseidon's home. 
Nor Hehos lighting torches on the hills, 
Nor any queen hour laughing on the slopes 
Where the watercourses are, nor almond 

Foaming the pools where purple iris grow. 
No, never once have I beheld my kind ; 
Never the goatherd fluting to his flock 
Black-feeted kids amid the lava blocks 
Stained with old lichen, yellow with flower- 
ing spurge ; 
Nor the white train of sacred maids down- 
By the fig-bordered ways of holy Inessa, 
Nor the gold fiUeted ancient men who bow 
At Hybla, nor the blue-robed youths who 

Watching the thousand hounds of Hadranon. 
Yea, all these weary years I have not seen. 
In gracious places I have never heard 
The chorus rave, nor the solitary hymn 
Peal from the heights of Enna when the 



Gather like flames before the Kore's fane : 
Nor laughter in the nightingale-haunted 

When the moon lifts the silver from the 

And ripples it lightly through the rippling 

boughs ; 
Never for me the chariot-race, the games, 
The sounds of down-falling cars in gladsome 

The kiss of wife or child, the choric song 
Of kings and wars and mighty kings of old, 
The bubble from the wine-skin, the gay jibe 
And all familiar things of the old-time day. 
For I am old and blind : for years on years. 
How many years I know not, have been 

That sorrow came to me because I saw 
Divinity unveiled, and for a moment knew 
The terrible life of immortality. 
The high gods rule us hardly. If we fail 
To seek them in their shrines and holy places 
Sorrows are laid on us, and many plagues. 
And the awful weight of the superhimian 

And, if unseen we come upon these folk, 
Star-tramplers, sea-shod, kindred of the 

That are the Eternal balance of the world, 


Pitiless are they, or full of dreadful scorn. 
Or mockery worse than flushing of the levin. 
But I have served her faithfully , Aweful 

One. . . . 
Yea, all these years in blindness and in pain, 
In sorrow, loneliness and grievous days 
I have not strayed an hour long from her 

Few men come here, to this deserted land : 
These haste away, so dreadful is the air 
Of deathless immemorial decays, 
Cities that were, dis-peopled villages. 
Gardens, with barren founts and fruitless 

Old roadways gathered to the prickly-pear. 
Dry watercourses where the lizards run 
Withwitheredtongues seeking forbidden dew. 
And this gaunt solitary ruined fane 
Whereon is Silence, terrible and alone. 
Yea, I have kept the sacred fire alit 
From dusk till dawn, and quenched it at the 

And every noon have gathered up the ashes 
And thrown them in the grey receding wave. 
Yet never has the goddess deigned to me . . . 
No, not a word, no, not a little word. 
Nor even guerdon given, albeit ease 
Or dreamless sleep, or food, or shade, or 




The visitation of unblended hours. 
The gifts of song, of prophecy, of dream. 
But, when I die, the crow will pick mine eyes, 
And if the crawling wave discrown my tomb 
The clammy fins of fish will touch my bones. 
■\Raising his arms in supplication. 
thou who in thy unknown secret power 
Descendeth hither, coming as a wind 
That eddies in the grass, and as an eddy 
Returning when it wills, in a secret way, 
O thou, Persephoneia, whom men worship 
High in the holy fane of the sacred Kore 
Where Enna rears her consecrated steep 
In frowning flanks of basalt from the wilds 
Hearken, have pity, give at least a sign. . . . 
For I have served thee well, who am broken, 

and blind. 
And now am old, and soonshallknow no more, 
But be a thing that was not, unrecalled. 

[The boy suddenly gives three sharp 
calls on his reed. 

Neanthes . . . what ? 


A shadow suddenly falls 
Which nothing casts, where no one is ! . . . 



Betwixt the columns where the sea gleams 

As a pomegranate on a dark blue leaf. 

Quick, boy ! . . . Neanthes . . . does the 

beam of light 
From off the Hyblaean hill yet reach the 
roof ? 

[Neanthes, leaping to his feet, covers his 
face, and turns and bounds swiftly 

It comes ! It comes ! 


[Slowly advancing. 
Hail to the Kore of Enna, hail ! 

[A pause, 
Persephoneia ! Mother of Life and Death ! 

HaU, Unbegotten but by the dreams of the 

Foreshaped by him, Poseidon-Hippios, 
Foreknown of her, Demeter, the veiled 

Queen ! 
Hail to the Kord ! Hail, Persephoneia ! 

[A pause. 
I 321 X 


Though many days have sunk and dark 

nights risen, 
Yea, many moons have waxt and waned in 

And thou hast not revisited this place. 
Yet art thou come again, Holy One ! 
I know well by the portents, and the awe 
That lies on all this breath-suspended shore. 

[A pause. 
A sign, a sign, thou whom I have served 
In silent adoration all these years ! 

A Voice 
Go down to the dim waves and bathe thine 

Maybe other gods may serve thee there : 
Or sleep, or dream. I knew not thou wert 

Who have never known nor seen that 

Save as a shadow flickering in the silence. 
Go up to the hill-encircled mountain fane 
That frowns on Enna, and then lay thee 

On the altar-step, that so, perchance, my 

May for less than a moment burn thy lips. 
Then may thy blindness quicken ... or 

the dark 



Drown in upon thee with a deeper night. 

But trouble me no more with faithful 

That, or unfaithful. Here I dwell alone. 

[Melkos stands in silence, then slowly 
moves towards the sea. As in a 
dream he walks slowly, through 
lentisk and tamarisk, often look- 
ing hack, half in dread, half in 


Tavistock Street Covent Garden 



iii liir 


i!1 !'